Monday, November 15, 2010

the delete button


whether they're action words, dialogue or simply "once upon a time" the fact of the matter is that someday you'll hate them.  you'll inevitably get to the point where those first words don't match the last words or anything in between - even if they were the words that led you to start writing in the first place.  even if at one time they were perfect.   

so you erase them.  maybe its a few words maybe its an entire chapter.  maybe its the first half of the book...  you cringe as you highlight the endless hours of work and press "delete".  but its worth it.  i promise.  and even a tiny bit liberating. 

afterall, there's no room for the good stuff... for the meat and potatoes of your story... if its bogged down with flat, uninteresting, filler words that are just leading you farther away from where you want to be.

so my challenge to you today?  hit that delete button.  just do it.  take a fine toothed comb,  weave it through your writing and throw away what's not working. it's going to be hard.  trust me, i know.  you're going to consider the sleepless nights and the cold early mornings when you worked through sweat, blood and tears to get those words down on paper and you're going to think "there's got to be some way i can make this work!"  okay, maybe there is.  but consider this.  maybe there isn't.  and instead of spending even more time trying to rework the gross, the bad and the ugly, try getting rid of it.  just try.  even if all you can do is cut and repaste it to another document somewhere on your lap top... try it.  and then let me know how it goes. 

p.s. the same advice works in life.  if something's not getting you to where you need to be... hit the delete button. 

photo curtesy of

1 comment:

  1. Oh so true. But at the same time, I save the previous edition. That way if it turns out that something I deleted is useful it's still there (somewhere) and I don't have to completely re-create it.