Cutting Through to Your Best Material

By Laurie Epps

Today, we're going to cover the last three essays in Writing Down the Bones. It is fitting for me to be winding down with the book now because with the onset of a new school year, and a new job, it's a time for new beginnings. Today, we're going to talk about the process. How do we tackle cutting out what's irrelevant and what's not?

Goldberg uses colorful analogies, and brings to life some different techniques to break through to our best material. So let's dig in and get to cutting!
The Samurai
pp. 169-171

Yes, it's true. There really aren't any good writers or bad writers. We all deserve a little bit of room. We all have a unique voice. Just like any other artist, all of that is subject to interpretation. 

Every part of the process is valuable. Composition is valuable because our writing wouldn't exist without it. But today, we're going to talk about self editing. A preliminary step before you hand over your work to a colleague or friend to critique.

This is the moment your work meet the Samurai sword. Those grueling moments where you decide if anything you wrote is any good, or if it's relevant. 

Difficult and scary, this part of the process we tell ourselves frankly if it's any good or not.

Be careful and choose wisely. If only one line makes an impact, then only use one line.

Have you ever been in love with your own work? Like a sentimental parent, you don't want to give up a single word. What did you do when this happened? Please share with us below.

Rereading and Rewriting
pp. 172-176

Goldberg recommends rereading your journals. Become comfortable with how your inner mind works. As you're rereading circle phrases or sentences that stand out as being good. Merely, string those ideas together in a cohesive piece. You might be amazed at the finished product if you do.









"I Don't Want to Die"
pp. 177-178

This is sort of Zen, woo-woo. Basically, a spiritual person will stand in front of a great art masterpiece and find peace, but an artist stands in front of a great artwork and waits to create another one.

There, writers are artists, and need to find peace so they don't burn out, so they don't die.

Have you ever had trouble ending a project because you were already on fire about the next one? How did you get through it? Please share in the comments section below.



Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Thoughtful Thursday column dedicated to the fine art of poetry and a column called Fiction to Film that is an accompaniment to English 365 at Anderson University.

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