In the past I thought there were two types of writing: that which bears your soul and that which pays your rent. The only true difference is how good the writing. In the end, a corporate brochure and a poem are still telling a story.
I come from a family of writers – my mother is a poet, my aunt is a travel writer, my other aunt is a fiction writer – so I have never called myself a writer. I like words. Sometimes they piece together to sing; other times they are functional. The process is always a work in progress, seeking perfection.
I am certain poets work harder than the rest because not only does every word count, but every letter and every space also count. Laziness doesn’t work. Ambiguousness doesn’t work. How do I know? Because I have tried to write poetry, but I live in excess.
My mom always edited my papers with a red felt tip pen. To this day, I refuse to use red, but I can hear her voice saying ‘sometimes, you have to sacrifice your darlings’. I always thought those were her words, but they are inspired by Faulkner. He is right. During the process of writing – a poem or short story, or a website or brochure – many writers become possessive over their words. This is an emotional response. For me, I don’t totally sacrifice them, I simply move them to another draft just in case I change my mind.