In anyone who writes for a living there is the Ego, and there is the Writer. One might think that the Writer is the one who loves words, who revels in them and marries them in indiscriminant polygamy. But that’s the Ego. The Ego weds, and the Writer beds. The Writer is the original wham-bam-thank-ye-ma’am, in and out, on to the next pretty face.
The reason is this: all the Writer cares about is getting across the information. Does this tell the story? Does this make the point? Can I find a set of words to do it better? Same for non-fiction as for fiction–cut, cut, and cut again. Try some more, sound it out, throw it up and tear it down.
Let the Ego have the words, and you will curl up with them, musty and dusty. Let slip the Writer, and you will cut out most of what you have, but you will love what is left, and you will be ready to love what is next.
(February 6, 2011)