Monday, October 18, 2010

Chop for the best deal

I just chopped three inches off my hair.

Just. Like. That.

No hairdresser, mind you. Nope. I stood in front of the mirror with sharp sissors and thought about how much I love having long hair. Then I looked more closely and saw the thinning, the split ends, and the lifelessness. What's the point in loving long hair if it's in crappy shape? I cut it without a second thought.

Now, you know you're a writer when you're chopping your hair off and all you can think of is manuscript editing. I kid you not. I stood there comparing cutting my hair to manuscript editing. No matter how much  you love your words (or hair), if they're unhealthy for the manuscript, if they're not doing anything to give it life or to propel the scene, they need to be chopped.

Just. Like. That.

I know it'll feel like you're getting rid of a part of yourself, but it's for the better. My hair will grow back...just like new, healthier, more powerful passages can be added back into the story. It's a great deal - a little chop with huge returns. What makes it a tad easier is that your words don't have to go into the trash can. I cut and paste them into a 'scraps' file where I can use ideas, sentences, or words at a later time. I know many writers who use programs like Scrivener or OneNote, where all those cuts can be kept just a click away (I have yet to try a writing program).

What's harder for you...chopping off your hair or chopping out sections of your manuscript?


  1. What a great analogy! Literally!! You have GOT to send me a picture of you with shorter hair. I bet it looks really cute!

    What's harder for me? I'm kind of like you. It'll grow back. Sometimes I love something in my book but know it's just not working. Often I'll find another place for it. Put it in another scene or even another POV. Sometimes, I just put it in my 'ideas' file and think I might use it for another story. That's never happened before, but I think you need to look critically at your ms and not be afraid of 'chopping' what's not working. You'll be able to come up with something just as good or even better. Trust yourself!

  2. Ug, great post Rula! But I loathe doing it, lol! Especially when I am so close with a word count and have to take three steps back. I, too, cut and paste in the event I can use it later. Although, often, I can't, it still makes me feel better than just deleting it. Another trick is, I tend to trim rather than chop. Even if it's the same spot over and over, for some reason it makes me feel less ill if I cut a few lines at a time than 1k. Head games, I know, but it works for me! Great post.

  3. Thanks Kaily! It is about self-trust. Isn't it?

    I don't think my cut looks cute. Plain Jane maybe. It's about mid-neck. I may have to give in and get a professional cut. I did have it boy short a very, very long time ago. I'm not doing that again (gets boring). I'll see if I'm brave enough to face a camera, lol!

    Shhh...we all know I should have been working on my synopsis rather than cutting my hair ;0. Gee, what a gal will do to escape a synopsis.

  4. Hey Christine! Oh, it really bites when you're right at the word count you need, or struggling to get there. Been there. 'Ug' pretty much says it.

    Maybe out of a paragraph, I'll cut and paste one sentence at a time and call it a trim ;). LOL. Hey, head games work!