Don’t cross out. (That is editing as you write. Even if you write something you didn’t mean to write, leave it.) Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar. (Don’t even care about staying within the margins and lines on the page.) Lose control. Don’t think. Don’t get logical. Go for the jugular. (If something comes up in your writing that is scary or naked, dive right into it. It probably has lots of energy.) ~ Natalie Goldberg
“This leads me to the Higher Editing. Take of well-ground Indian Ink as much as suffices and a camel-hair brush proportionate to the inter-spaces of your lines. In an auspicious hour, read your final draft and consider faithfully every paragraph, sentence and word, blacking out where requisite. Let it lie by to drain as long as possible. At the end of that time, re-read and you should find that it will bear a second shortening. Finally, read it aloud alone and at leisure. Maybe a shade more brushwork will then indicate or impose itself. If not, praise Allah and let it go, and ‘when thou hast done, repent not.’ The shorter the tale, the longer the brushwork and, normally, the shorter the lie-by, and vice versa. The longer the tale, the less brush but the longer lie-by. I have had tales by me for three or five years which shortened themselves almost yearly. The magic lies in the Brush and the Ink. For the Pen, when it is writing, can only scratch; and bottled ink is not to compare with the ground Chinese stick. Experto crede.” ~ Rudyard Kipling
“I’ve reached that final moment of editing a book—the one where the text manifests as a living breathing person and starts slugging me in the face.” ~ Richard Due
“Forcing modern speakers of English to not—whoops, not to split an infinitive because it isn’t done in Latin makes about as much sense as forcing modern residents of England to wear laurels and togas.” ~ Steven Pinker
Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain. There is a difference between a book of two hundred pages which is the result of an original eight hundred pages. The six hundred pages are there. Only you don’t see them. ~ Elie Wiesel
“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
What do you think?
“Editing. It’s like dieting; except a lot more violent.” ~ Leya Delray
I, for one, have not dieted in a long time. My memories of the process are still vivid though. Therefore, I confidently say: I can relate. As for the quote’s part on “editing”, I know that my confidence is incomparably stronger; for, I have been self-editing and editing for other authors nonstop for an extensive period of time. So, this statement holds true as far as I am concerned.
A Turkish proverb has become one of my most favorite these days. In English, it reads something like the following: To cut the tree branch on which you sit.
My integrated question is simple: Does the full English phrase come across as a natural language use to you? If not, what would you change in it?
“A person who wrote badly did better than a person who does not write at all. A bad writing can be corrected. An empty page remains an empty page.” ~ Israelmore Ayivor