You may have heard of all the drama I went through with my last flat, starting with literal puddles on the floor from condensation (my fault, apparently, for breathing) and ending with the water pipe above my bed bursting and causing the mess you can see here (and it looked even worse by the end!). Fun times, eh?
After traipsing across half of London (my brother did most of that) we managed to find a shiny new flat sans condensation and burst pipes. Victory! I’d show you pictures of my new, non-destroyed room, but it is still an embarrassing mess of half-open boxes and naked walls.
I keep looking around and wondering when I accumulated so much stuff, and how to go about getting rid of all the things I never use: clothes that don’t fit, useless but pretty gadgets, old Christmas and birthday cards, not to mention a plethora of posters that have sat in an envelope for several years now. I’m a pack rat; I like collecting things. But it seems to me that a new place deserves a tabula rasa (or as much as I can make one, anyway). How to go about getting rid of the unnecessary?
Since I am entirely one-track-minded, this whole debacle got me thinking about writing, and more specifically, editing.
I write the way I acquire new things: impulsively, with a half-idea of where I want to go and a lot of willingness to splash out on an unexpected find. The end result is a thrown-together look that may work with my wardrobe, but is a little lacking when it comes to my writing. But how to streamline it all?
Ah, editing. Of course. But then the problem becomes figuring out what to get rid of, and what to keep. And when I get to that point, I do exactly what I have just done: I pack up and move house.
I open a new word document, I change the font from Times New Roman to Garamond, and, bit by bit, I move sentences over, sometimes one word at a time, sometimes in great lumps. From the first document to the second, all those spare words that I cannot be bothered to retype get dropped, and all those awkwardly shaped sentences get ironed out.
Yes, some of the bad stuff creeps through — I am a packrat, after all. But eventually, if my story moves houses enough times, I can be sure a good amount of the crap is lost.
How do you edit?