June 8, 2012

Elley mentioned in her post about revisions that revisions must be ruthless, and I got to thinking that it’s not just revisions that require a kind of ruthlessness, it’s writing in general that does as well. (And then I got to thinking, I sure do like piggybacking on Elley’s posts).

For instance, over the past two days I’ve written 1500 words of a WIP. These 1500 words were fine. They got the general point across, but when I was done with these 1500 words, I looked at them, scratched my head, and realized something wasn’t totally right.

My first thought or instinct is to keep going anyway. You can always go back and fix it later. But, then I got stuck. I couldn’t figure out what could happen next that wasn’t, well, boring info dump.

So, I had to be ruthless. No matter how painful it was, I had to highlight those 1500 words and hit delete. And then, then, I had to replace them.

I think we have a hard time deleting our words not so much because were are so in love with them, but more because they represent something we can’t replace or get back. The time I spent on those words is gone and to delete them makes it feel like that time, that effort was wasted, and many of us have very little time and effort left to waste.

But, you must be ruthless. Sometimes words need to be deleted, even if it renders those minutes you spend on them pointless. It no longer matters once you’ve replaced them because chances are you’ll have replaced them with something better, something stronger.



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