Am I a writer?

First off, I am an aspiring writer. Forever a student of the English language, proper form, and knowing the rules so I can break them.

One of the hardest things that I’ve had to do is cut. With the advent of DVDs, we can connect with the directors of a film in a way never before possible. I always enjoy watching deleted scenes with director commentary. For someone making a film, cutting pieces hurts. It is an excellent lesson in the art of brevity though, and there is a lot to learn from directors (good and bad) that cut scenes from films.

As I write for publication, I take a lesson from my high school journalism class. “It’s always better to have too much stuff than not enough stuff.” It definitely is, but you have to cut out pieces that you created. Each word of every piece that I do is part of my creation. Cutting hurts.

But as we learn from Zinsser, “Clutter is the disease of American writing.” So much of what we write can be cut and the meaning does not change. In his book, he talks about taking a first draft of eight pages and having students cut it to four. Students revolt and say it cannot be done. After they find out that it CAN be done, Zinsser would give them the hard assignment. Cut it to three.

I just finished editing my second draft of my monthly column and cut it from around 800 words to around 660. PAIN! But the end product is much better!

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