Be Strong Enough to Delete Your Favorite Words or Phrases

This sentiment – instruction/warning/encouragement – was given by a professor during a  writing class many years ago…

I’m on a roll. The words flow so easily. I can’t type fast enough to get them out of my head and into the laptop. Wiping the sweat from my brow, I even use the thesaurus. I add a little touch of humor to ease the lengthy dramatic scene.  Finally, I stop and take a deep breath – yeah – that felt good.

I stand and stretch, take a victory lap into the kitchen for a refill on my coffee (or wine). Then I sit back down and read what I just wrote. As I’m about to go on to the next scene, a niggling little worry prevents forward progress. I read the scene again. It works – sort of…if I don’t pay too much attention to the overwritten bit right there in the middle of the last paragraph.

But the WORDS, that turn of phrase is very CLEVER. True, its not actually needed right here. Try as I might, I can’t bring my finger down on the Delete key. So, I just highlight the content in question and keep going. Two pages later, I go back and read the section again. It’s really not so bad. I read it aloud. Then I read the paragraph without the highlighted content.

Eek. That works much better. No amount of cleverness can make up for the fact that  something just doesn’t work. I have to take it out, I have to. I cut the offending sentences…and then paste the discards into another document so I don’t lose any of my brilliance.

After all, what doesn’t work in one piece might work elsewhere. I can only hope.