Kill Your Darlings

There is a statement in writing that all writers know and dread: kill your darlings.

For the non writers reading this post, it means editing. It is not the easy editing where a writer would correct a spelling or grammatical error. To kill your darlings as a writer is hard editing. It means that the writer is changing a beloved passage or making changes that they didn’t think they needed to make.

I’ve been killing my darlings since January. About six or seven years ago, I wrote a draft of a novel. It is my adaptation of Beauty And The Beast with Bronte-esque elements. In January, I joined a local novel writing group via meetup. I knew at that time that it was nowhere near the point where I felt comfortable sending it out for possible publication. The first meetup confirmed my feelings.

Since then, I have been killing my darlings again and again.

It’s not easy, especially considering the time I put into the novel prior too joining the group. But the effort (and sometimes heartache) is totally worth it. While my novel is still far from the point of sending out for possible publication, it is slowly getting there.

I know that I will have to continue to kill my darlings for as long as it takes. It’s not easy, but if the end result is publication, then it must be done.

If It Were Only That Easy

Many of my regular readers know that I have been taking Muy Thai Kickboxing classes at a local dojo.

At the end of the class, the teacher usually gives a little pep talk.

One of the subjects that comes up every once in a while is that reaching our goals is not easy. If it were, anyone could do it.

I want to be a writer. I want to be earning my keep by my pen.

For about two months now, I have been a part of a local novel writing group.  One of the comments from another group member reminded me of something.

It’s not easy to be a writer. If it were, anyone with ambitions to write would have an Emmy, a Tony, a Pulitzer, be on the New York Times best seller list, etc.

The truth is that it is not easy. Sitting in front of the computer or opening that notebook to write is only the first step. The hard part is actually writing.

But there is the joy in writing and the growth that comes with every new story and every new draft. That is what I love about writing.

I know that one day, I will earn my keep by my pen. But until then, I must earn my keep other ways.

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