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Discarding

November 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Writing is extraordinarily wasteful.  So many brilliant things we write never see the light of day.  It’s easy to fall into the habit of believing this is my own personal tragedy.  But I recently attended a writing conference where discarding beloved writing was a major topic of interest, which reminded me that this sadness is ubiquitous.  During a question and answer session with several published authors, the question was asked, “How do you do it?”  (“It” being discarding perfectly good writing.)  The authors answered the question with helpful insights, such as switching your thinking from what you need to write to what your reader needs to read.  However, none of the authors was crass enough to answer the question with what I think is the real answer.  Eventually, the rent is due and if someone is willing to give you money for your work if you eliminate X, Y, Z passage, you begin to see the roof over your head and groceries in the refrigerator with more fondness than you have for your lovely prose.