Getting Rid of the Internal…Scheduler

You thought I was going to say Internal Editor, didn’t you? We know that guy–the one that shouts mean thoughts at us from the sidelines. The one that tells us we can’t write, this is a stupid idea (or possibly 30 stupid ideas, if you just finished PiBoIdMo. Which they aren’t, by the way. Stupid, I mean.). Yes, we all know that guy. When he visits alone, I can usually handle him.

But sometimes he brings company. He’s been doing that lately. Maybe his friend shows up more easily in December, along with that feeling of it being time to wind up projects, cross off items on the to-do list. Whatever the reason, she’s been here the past couple of weeks and, frankly, I’m getting pretty sick of her.

She’s the Internal Scheduler. She’s not as hard on my actual writing as the Editor. At least she typically tags the word “yet” onto her comments. Like: “You haven’t got very far…yet.” “This isn’t a very strong revision…yet.”

Where does that “yet” come from? From the Should world. The circle of you-know-where that Dante didn’t bother to mention. The world that says I should have finished these picture books already. The one that says I should have sent more than one revision per meeting to my critique group the past few months. The one that says I should have all of  them ready to submit by the end of the year.

I love December. I really do. I love the weather (it starts to get chilly here in California, but–even in a wet year–the rain isn’t pouring down). I love the holidays–the shopping, the wrapping, the Xmas carols in the stores. And, usually, I love that coming into the turn of the year, that feeling of things being good right now and a new set of possibilities waiting just around the corner.

But I do not like the Internal Scheduler. I do not like the fact that she tries to shove me into a regime, tries to make me think that time alone–those hours in the chair–will produce the story I want to tell. I do not like that she makes me start blaming myself for the things I haven’t accomplished.

So what am I going to do with the Internal Scheduler? Same thing I do with the Editor. Tell her to go away. Disappear. Vamoose. Firmly and not even the littlest bit kindly.

And I’m going to work on my stories. With attention and love and patience.


  1. I am sure you can handle any unwelcome guests, Becky!


  2. Ah, so that’s what she’s called!! I know exactly how you feel!


  3. Jenn Hubbard says:

    Yes, I feel that tension too–between wanting to move forward and not slack off, but then getting so pressured by quantitative goals that the writing suffers.


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