My Long-Winded Way

It is apparently impossible for me to escape. I write long. Always, every time, I write too long. For example, I told you I write long twice, when all I had to do was say it once. Why? Why, I can’t help it. I wish I could be pitch-perfect and precise, but I’m a rambler.

My writing method is:

• Describe a thing somewhat eloquently.

• Describe a thing perhaps more eloquently.

• Describe a thing exactly eloquently enough.

• Add one more description just for the hell of it.

• Look back and panic at the sprawling paragraph.

• Decide to deal with it tomorrow.

• Move on to the next thing.

In this way, I write at least two pages for every one.

Once I’ve written to the end of the story, I go back and hack violently at the sentences. I cut and cut and cut and cut and then I write some more in the middle and then I cut some more and then I add seven more sentences I shouldn’t have added so I go back and cut three and then I try to cut more, I do, but I can’t, there’s a point at which it becomes painful, and so I leave it alone, until the next day when I go back in and start hacking again.

I guess it can feel sort of exhilarating.

Even when I try to keep myself to a very set page count—when I am not ALLOWED to turn in more than 20,000 words, for example—it is likely that I will write 40,000. I will then need days to get it down to a passable length for fear of horrifying the editors and jamming up their printers.

I have made it through a weekend of cuts and am now on to the next thing. I realize that I could have finished the project a full week ago if I’d just written shorter, but can I stop myself, can I? No, I cannot.

I could go on and on about this, but I will stop this post right now. Right before it’s—


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