Kondo* the heck out of your writing.
I bought Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a few years ago. At that point I had already downsized by about two-thirds, but since then have taken numerous additional boxes – books, clothes, household items — and bits of furniture to the donation door of my local charity thrift store.
Now that Kondo has her own Netflix series, so many people are watching and tidying up that thrift stores are overflowing.
Kondo’s rules for tidying up can guide the way to improved writing, too.
Are your words useful? Do they convey the message your readers need to hear or that you need to convey to them? Too many words just clutter the neural pathways and obscure what’s important.
Do your words spark joy? Joy in the reader is the gauge, not your own. Good writing is hard work. Bear in mind that the best writing is as invisible as Meryl Streep’s acting. If you do it right, readers will be intrigued, inspired, or moved.
As you revise your writing, ferret out anything that doesn’t fit these two rules. All those extra or misplaced phrases and words, maybe whole paragraphs, served a purpose in your writing process, but they were transitional to your best work. Take a deep breath and delete them.
It’s all about editing. Kondo edits stuff. Writers edit words. The principles are the same.
If you have a message to share (and don’t we all?) but writing and editing don’t give you joy, get some help. You should be free to put your energy where you can have the most impact, and still have clean, clear communication. Contact me today with your ideas and needs.
*And yes, according to the Urban Dictionary, Kondo has moved into popular usage as a verb meaning “to purge.”