A fellow writer tweeted that she deleted 16 pages because she didn’t like the direction her novel was headed. You could hear the sense of accomplishment in her words.

My heart stopped (ok, not literally).


photo by eofstr

Sixteen pages of her baby were gone. Sure, she might not like them today but what about tomorrow?

What about when she finishes her novel and needs to expand?

Never Delete

Not everything you write is worth keeping.

But nothing is worth deleting forever.

When pages don't fit, they need to go. By all means, remove those 16 pages from your novel.

Rather than deleting 16 pages of hard work, save them in another document for safe keeping just in case you change your mind. If nothing else, those pages can be used as proof for how you've improved as a writer.

Who knows, they could become a launching point for another piece.

Personally, I keep a document entitled “Modge Podge of Killed Documents” just in case I want a scene I had originally written off as garbage. It's easier to search through one document than it is to rack your brain to recreate an old scene.

You may never use those words again but better safe than sorry, right?

Have you ever deleted your writing and regretted it later?


Invite the characters from your work in progress to play. For fifteen minutes, hang out with them and let them run the story. This may or may not relate to what you're actually writing. It's just practice.

When you're done, post it in the comments and comment on a few other practices.

Katie Axelson is a writer, editor, and blogger who's seeking to live a story worth telling. You can find her blogging, tweeting, and facebook-ing.

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