Cutting Room Floor

To edit or not to edit? That is the question.

Nothing to Read Here once wrote about how he loathes editing. Reminded me of how I used to hate it too.

Hate is such strong word. Let’s just say I was above it.

My college poetry professor stressed the importance of editing. Said we should rewrite several times before presenting a piece.

Not I, said the cat! But not aloud of course. Kept my sentiments to myself.

Edit? Rewrite? Destroy the raw emotion, the fire fueling the original choice of words, rhythm, and meaning? The less editing the better. Keeps it pure.

Oh, the drama of it all.

image with permission from

“How long does it take you to, you know, come up with one of those stories?” said my friend the would-be stand up comedian last time I saw her.

“Depends,” I said. Nice, safe answer. But it’s true. Some posts come quickly. Others not so much.

If WordPress took note of the number of edits I make to a post before it goes live, they’d think I’m daffy.

Scratch that. It’s arguable whether I’m daffy no matter how many revisions.

I’m not sure what WordPress would think. Or what my professor would think. Or what you would think if you saw the unending stream of corrections and rewrites.

I can guess what you’re thinking now: All that, and she still manages to miss at least one typo per post!

If this were an old-school movie edit, I could adorn myself with the ringlets of film on the cutting room floor. Fashion them into a translucent wig. A Gaga dress.

fallen leaf

I could sweep them up into a pile. Invite children to jump in them like autumn leaves, only better. No crumbling bits breaking off and sticking in socks. No hidden night crawlers or pungent cedar mulch in the mix of sterile, celluloid ribbons.

What’s left is a reduced, boiled down idea. The essence of the original, but stronger. That’s the hope anyway.

How I wish I could exercise the same discipline with the words I speak. They bolt out. They are gone and cannot be recaptured.

They wriggle and squirm. They resist careful pruning. Resist being held.

These spoken ones may combust or fizzle. They may scale heights or burrow deep in the hearts of their receivers. But they do not go willingly to the cutting room floor. If I could tame them, I could tame the world.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-8 NLT

Gwen’s back with No Doubt and Don’t Speak.

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Filed under blogging, writing & reading

10 Responses to Cutting Room Floor

  1. Interesting blog :)

  2. Joy

    Well said, Aimee. Some days I wish my filter from brain to mouth was as effective as the editing process on my blog. Well written, thank you!

  3. It is so hard to edit oneself verbally and written. My written word is the hardest for me. If you have ever had trouble in this area, I have never known. Maybe it is because your post flow so well.

  4. Well said Aimee. There are many “drafts” I will never publish. Raw emotion. Unedited. When I try to edit it leaves out what I am trying to say!

    • Ooo, I have my reserve of those posts. Most of those are drafts I’m afraid to publish for fear of backlash or hurting someone’s feelings. Some I’ve deleted to make sure they never accidentally hit cyberspace. And then there are those lilke Milk Wars that I’ve rewritten and been able to publish. They still have the emotional fire but more palatable and logical. Those take a loooong time and a lot of editing.

  5. Great post, and true even with my posts… and probably my main reason for not ever starting up a second blog entitled “The Chef Rants: What Happens When She Boils Over”. Since English is my second language (close second, but still – just take a close look at my commas, or their lack thereof), for me it gives the added joy of making sense when fully written in English rather than just my Hunglish thoughts.
    Lately I’ve been seeing commercials for a speech-to-text system, advertised as “great for writers, lets the ideas flow freely”. No sir, nope. Worst. Idea. Ever. :D