Words don’t bleed; cut them

Tap, tap, tap. Click, click.

{Save as: My Brilliant Masterpiece in Progress}.

Print. Hold. Beam.

{Send to: Writing Group That Keeps Me in Check}.

Wait. Fret. Wait.

Phone notification: {re: My Brilliant Masterpiece in Progress.}.

Open. Read. Frown.


If this writing/sharing/response process rings true (and you know who you are), then you are a writer who is married to her words. Revision seems anathema to impulsive creativity, passionate truthful expression, and brilliantly written passages.

“But you don’t understand! It’s perfect just the way it is! I wrote it this way for a reason! It says exactly what I want it to say in the exact way I want it to read! They just don’t understand what I’m going for!”

Honesty time. Is this you?

No, really. Is it you?

Because I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to craft and mold and play with words until they are just right…and then have really smart, trusted writing friends say, “meh” or “doesn’t work” or “change this” or worst of all, “delete that section.” And “that section” is the one I liked the best.

Guess what?

My writing group is right. It’s my own pride and ego barring me from recognizing their sensible wisdom. They are not as close to the work as I am, so I’m not thinking clearly. If you can relate to this, you need to join me in reciting this valuable mantra whenever you are faced with difficult and emotionally-charged revisions: Words don’t bleed; cut them.

Say it out loud: Words don’t bleed; cut them.

One more time for the cheap seats in the back: Words don’t bleed; cut them.

Embracing and internalizing this basic truth will save you headaches, heartaches, and time. You will shorten your rejection time and reduce your rejection responses if you listen to the smart people who have your best publishing interests at heart. Yes, you are the author and have the ultimate decision…but when you rationally consider what the group says, you will most likely see that they are correct. Don’t resist, don’t get defensive, and don’t get angry that “they just don’t get it.” They DO get it. That’s why they are telling you to make those changes. They want you to succeed. And YOU want to succeed. Stop standing in your own way.

So, to review. What have we learned?

Words don’t bleed; cut them.

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