Coding Range

On the Inner Heckler

October 21st, 2013

One of the only three podcasts I subscribe to is Writing Excuses. In summary, it’s a 15-20 minute weekly podcast all about about writing books. In episode 8.42 they discussed the ‘Inner Heckler’ versus the ‘Inner Editor.’

The ‘Inner Heckler’ is the little voice inside all of us that trashes the work we do and says it’s crap. It’s entirely destructive. The ‘Inner Editor’ is the little voice that picks apart what’s wrong and why, in order that we can improve it. It picks out the bad, but in a constructive manner.

The more I think about this, however, it seems as though children don’t have an inner heckler at all. Instead, they have an inner explorer, an adventurer that wants to know everything from “What’s around the corner?” to “Is this flame hot?” and “What happens if I put the kitten in the dishwasher?”. I’ve never heard a child negatively criticize their own work - it’s always the best work, regardless of actual quality, and will typically get stuck on the refrigerator door by the proud parents.

Given this, where does this heckler come from? At what point of growing up does a little destructive voice come in to play? And if the heckler is a foreign visitor, so to speak, is there any way to evict it?