Friday, February 4, 2011

Good Writing Advice

I want to start regularly posting good writing advice that I come across in class, in the Writing Lab, and in conversation.

"Cut you darlings."

If I had to choose my favorite or most useful piece of advice I've received about my writing, it's "cut your darlings." The professor who taught my first-year composition class (who is now my dearly beloved adviser) told us this in maybe the second week of class, and I swear it changed my life; something about that phrase seemed totally irreverent and liberating. It was as if I had spent my whole academic life until that point waiting for permission to highlight and delete. When I run into one of those times when I can't figure out what I'm trying to say, it's oddly reassuring to have this reminder that my paper and my subject are more important than that one perfectly articulated paragraph, and, by extension, my ego.

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