When other girls in my high school were decorating their lockers with photos of N*Sync and Matchbox 20, I was crushing hard on Ernest Hemingway. It’s proved to be a love that no amount of righteous feminism can shake. I go weak at the knees for the way he packs a world of feeling into a few terse sentences. Even his writing advice is laconically sexy:
"Write drunk. Edit sober."
Good advice, but an even better look behind the scenes. I think we can infer that, Pulitzer Prize notwithstanding, Hemingway wrote drunk the way any of us would—compulsively, vaingloriously, forgetting articles, failing to connect objects with transitive verbs, losing his topic in tangential threads.
There’s no one like Hemingway for showing that clear, beautiful communication has as much to do with what you don’t say as what you do say. However, when you’re in the throes of pouring your soul onto the page, the last thing you want to think about is whether you’re saying too much.
Having a good editor means you don't have edit yourself. It means support from someone who can help you make the hard choices about what should stay, what to save for later, and what should be (dear God) forgotten forever. It means having a writer's writer you can trust to help make your story shorter, stronger and yes, sexier.