IWSG: Lessons

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?
The thing I’ve learned is: learning to let go of your words is often the best thing you can do.
Back when I wrote my first novel, I was fiercely protective of every line, paragraph and scene. These were things that had come out of my head and my heart and they weren’t going to be tossed aside like trash. I clung to them, even when they hurt the story.
Learning to let that go has been so helpful.
I cut 20,000 words between drafts 3 & 4 of the book I’m working on now, and it is so much better for it. I have to go back in and rewrite scenes and fix a plot line that was restructured, and that’s a little frustrating, but cutting those words was the right thing to do for the book, no matter how much I enjoyed the previous incarnation.
In other news:
I’m over on the Go Forth & Nerd Podcast today, talking about writing, inspirations, nerdy things, and feminism.
Books and blog posts have the bonus of being edited before they make their way to you, so this is your fair warning that I tend to ramble.
Jesse’s great, his podcasts are great, and I’m so happy to have been able to contribute.
Hop over there and check it out. (He’s got a ton of great content even if you don’t want to listen to me yap.

This post has been a part of the monthly IWSG blog-hop. Bounce over there, check it out and sign up if you’re ready to share you neuroses with the world.


  1. That was a great lesson for me too. Oh how I hated when anyone said I should eliminate entire scenes or God forbid a whole character lol. If only we knew then what we know now...
    Happy #IWSG DAY!

  2. Great tip! Thanks for sharing!

  3. That's such a hard lesson to learn! (And such a great one, too, because it strengthens your story like nothing else will!) It's a huge step for a writer to learn that lesson, and to recognize that not everything in a first draft--or even a scene that you actually love--deserves to stay. Great lesson to be reminded of too, so thanks for the reminder to "kill our darlings"! :)

  4. I always had the opposite problem--I sent things out WAY too soon. Good thing self-publishing and small presses weren't really around when I started or there would be some bad, bad books out there by me!

  5. That's a hard lesson to learn but a great one. One of the best ways of strengthening your book is to trim it down. I always say keep those offcuts though - they'll always be part of the story in some way and they can be repurposed, offered as a deleted scene, etc.

  6. The phase of writing that is actually most important is revision. I've never done any sustained writing, but that might be one of my next directions.


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