On the Extrajudicial Killing (of Darlings)

I’ve just seen the movie Kill Your Darlings, but this post is not a review of any sort. I just want to react to a post I’ve seen on a certain Facebook page. Here’a preview to give you an idea:

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Source: Writers World

On Writing Without Fear and Editing Without Mercy

Ever since I started writing (like since grade school), I’ve always hated my darlings. Of course, I didn’t know it before, but I became aware of this when I saw the above photo on Facebook. And thanks to this post and the writers who agreed on the comment section, I know I’m not the only one.

Here’s the thing: whenever an idea hits me, like a really good idea that I think would make a great blog post, I’d try to put my words into writing immediately, given there is a pen and a paper or if my laptop is with me (I have no smartphone kasi, huhu poor me). And then I’d get excited to the point that I’d skip meals or disregard my to-do list for the day because I know that I write my best pieces when the idea is still fresh.

Unfortunately for me, I get scatterbrained most of the time and so I always end up staring at the blank space of the WordPress site for hours. FOR HOURS. And then I’d give up because according to my #SpiritAnimal, the late Charles Bukowski (you know, the drunken poet who spent the latter part of his life drinking and writing), if it does not come bursting out of you inspite of everything, don’t do it.

Sometimes, I get lucky. Sometimes, my body coordinates with my brain and I become so much dedicated and eager and passionate and excited to produce the best work of my life. As my workmate said during her Blogging 101 workshop, one should write without fear and edit without mercy. And then I found out that most writers disapprove of this one trick that I’m doing.

On Editing While Writing

One of the things that I discovered when I worked as a copywriter is that one should not edit while writing. And like what I do with my other discoveries, I carefully put it in a box in the corner of my mind, left it there, and never opened it. Not once. Not ever. Welcome to my life.

You think I’m hardheaded?  Let me tell you what I think. I think the best writing comes from within. I also think that writers have their own creative way of writing their best work. And I think I create my best work when I follow this trick: I edit while I write.

The result? My 1,000 words become 500. My forever struggle: to delete or not to delete? Because sometimes, a really good idea hits me but I know that idea should be reserved for another post. I guess that’s one of the eternal struggles of writers: to write a short yet effective piece.

On the Extrajudicial Killing (of Darlings)

To make the long story short, killing my darlings has become my technique to write a good piece. I know I should proofread and edit my work before I post it, but as I already edit while I write, I don’t even look at the final output because when I do, I don’t see a masterpiece; I see trash [1]. That’s how it works every time.

Fun facts:

  1. I love the idea of writing, but I always end up hating my posts because [1].
  2. I’ve never been confident enough to share my posts with others, especially with my fellow writers and bloggers.
  3. I am constantly tempted to delete this blog because I don’t want other people to see my darlings (which I hate).

As long as I reach the bottom of the page and know that I’m done explaining myself to the world, that’s it. Sure, I always (as in ALWAYS, as in FOREVER) hate my posts when it’s already out there for the reading pleasure of the grammar police, judges, and readers, but thanks so much for the photo above, I am now slightly more confident that I have edited (or killed) my darlings enough. Here’s to the extrajudicial killing of our darlings! #EditPaMore

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