We have all seen the cartoon or movie version of the good angel – bad devil. The good angel is sweetly balanced on your right shoulder, all dressed in white, possibly wearing wings, a halo may be involved. The bad devil is some swarthy pointy-nosed creature outfitted in red, possibly with a tail, planted solidly on your left shoulder. He has a pitchfork which he regularly stabs into the soft muscle just under the bone.
Personally I have never bought into this nonsense, until I decided (in a fit of delusion) that what I needed to do was Write – with a capital W. I was going to whip a bunch of words into some delicious frothy concoction that would elicit gasps of joy or sobs of sadness from the reading public.
But, to my shock I discovered that I had developed my own angel-devil situation; two editors who had taken us residence on my shoulders. The good editor is kind and reassuring. She looks rather like my aunt Eileen (who was a real nutcase) complete with tweed skirt, pearls, slightly droopy stockings and sensible shoes. She serves me hot tea and shortbread, mentally of course, while she coos and ahhs over every word I commit to paper. She tells me I have much talent, am destined for great heights, and should never question myself. She strokes each sheet of paper as it spits out of the printer and gently wipes away a tear at the beauty of the words.
Sadly, the other editor is a perfectly horrid creature. He sprawls on my bony left shoulder, picking at his teeth and yawning loudly. He resembles no one I have ever met. This swarthy dude is dressed in a black velvet suit, black shiny shirt and purple tie. He could easily pass as a pimp.
He studies every word I produce, laughing at the feebleness of it before belching in my ear. He sneers at my adjectives and makes me doubt my writing to the point that I want to simply hit Delete All and walk away. He constantly reminds me that this writing lark is a joke, something that should be left to professionals, those who have studied the craft and not attempted by some wanna be. His ridicule sews doubts deep in my mind and this makes him grin.
And so each day as I sit at my laptop I try to summon up good editor. I want to hear her encouraging words and wallow in her approval. But bad editor usually wanders in late and starts kicking up a stink.
How I want to drown him in a cup of hot tea!