Try This Exercise ... if You Dare
September 8, 2009

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.Write well!