Write Away: Cutting Words


I’m kind of a hoarder. I still have almost every card ever given to me. And every T-shirt since I was in my 20’s.

I keep a lot of plastic bags, too.

But words! The most personal parts of me, they get tossed fairly often.

Snip snip. Bye bye.

Cutting words used to be really, really hard for me. Still is. Trying to throw out a chapter without mourning is still impossible.

Even a sentence, paragraph, or blog post that almost sounded like what I wanted to say, but just couldn’t get it together.

Snip. Snip. Snip.

I’ve stopped worrying as much. I get my panic under control by remembering all 26 letters are still on the keyboard.

Put them together again, just in a stronger order. Make more sense.

The energy, the idea, the heart of what I’m writing is still here.

That’s the sensible me.

Just watch out.

Wait for it.

Here she comes!

The word hoarder. “Agony! All those lost words. Poor words. Maybe they could have been used later for something else. Their lives mattered. Why didn’t I keep them? Woe is me!”

Or beware of the angry one. “Well, if it’s ONE, it’s ALL! Throw it all away! I didn’t want to be a writer anyways! Argh!”

Or the shy one. “Oh my god, I can’t believe I said all that. I’m so embarrassed. Oh, how did I leave all these extra words? How did I miss this run-on? How could I be so stupid?” Sniffle. Snip, snip, snip, snip, snip, snip.

Each one of those editors is inside of me. Along with all these words.

Sometimes it’s good to sleep. Wake up the next day. Clarity with the new dawn is often my best editing tool.

That’s when my favorite internal editor is usually free: The Artist.

The one who sits back, puts a little dot here or there, paints over another with a fresh stroke. And understands no masterpiece is ever complete.

She just enjoys the satisfaction of temporary balance.

My advice: always edit. Don’t lose sleep.




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