“Doing good work and having creative thoughts means very little unless you’re able to express that work and those thoughts to others in as straightforward a way as possible.
“To edit yourself isn’t an admission of lack of talent; it’s sticking up for that talent by taking the time to make sure that everyone can understand what you’re trying to say.”
-Josh Ritter, “Seeing Red: To Write Is to Edit.” The Wall Street Journal. October 15, 2011
(Language warning. Don’t read if you don’t like the word ‘shit.’)
“I happened to mention this to a hypnotist I saw many years ago, and he looked at me very nicely. At first I thought he was feeling around on the floor for the silent alarm button, but then he gave me the following exercise, which I still use to this day. Close your eyes and get quiet for a minute, until the chatter starts up. Then isolate one of the voices and imagine the person speaking as a mouse. Pick it up by the tail and drop it into a mason jar. Then isolate another voice, pick it up by the tail, drop it in the jar. And so on. Drop in any high-maintenance parental units, drop in any contractors, lawyers, colleagues, children, anyone who is whining in your head. Then put the lid on, and watch all these mouse people clawing at the glass, jabbering away, trying to make you feel like shit because you won’t do what they want—won’t give them more money, won’t be more successful, won’t see them more often. Then imagine that there is a volume-control button on the bottle. Turn it all the way up for a minute, and listen to the stream of angry, neglected, guilt-mongering voices. Then turn it all the way down and watch the frantic mice lunge at the glass, trying to get to you. Leave it down, and get back to your shitty first draft.”
–Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life