One of my college professors once imparted this bit of wisdom to our workshop:
“Look closely at what you’ve just written. Now go through and circle everything in it that you love, every gorgeous description, every turn of phrase—and delete it.”
There are days when I think this is the best advice I’ve ever gotten (usually when my writing is not going well). And there are days when I think it’s the worst (usually when I’m particularly in love with myself).
I urge you to give it a try and see what happens. It’s a fun experiment, and if you’re suffering from a case of wordiness, it can be very grounding and helpful. But if the professor’s approach is a little too harsh for you this Tuesday morning, then I’ll leave you with the very wise words of a former Editor-in-Chief of mine:
“Every word should carry its own weight.”
When you get right down to it, both statements are really about checking your ego at the door when you write. It’s about bringing a sense of honesty to your writing, about doing what’s best for the story.