There are common platitudes among the fiction writing community. The one that comes readily to mind is ‘Kill your darlings.’ In three words, we speak volumes.

Then there’s the tools of the trade. From hardware (Macbook fans raise your hand? Caught you!) to software. Methodologies get touted like dogma. The long standing plotting versus pantsing war, anyone? Then even after you make a decision you’ve got arguments about details!

In my view, though, they’re all just means to an end. While I’m a converted pantser and wouldn’t go back, I still write short stories by the seat of the pants quite frequently. Why I don’t use the ‘pure detail’ character sheets during the planning stages (Really, why is their eye color important again?) they really help some people.

There’s only one motto I need for writing: All for the story. Anything that makes the story better is to be loved and used until it stops making things better. Everything that weakens a story should be burned with fire.

This took me years to fully grasp, and I think I’m still learning. We invest a significant portion of our ego into everything we write. That’s what makes the writing uniquely us. So it’s understandably painful to cut and rearrange those things that were likely hard to write in the first place.

As I said before, a writer needs humility. Sometimes it comes from editing, sometimes from a too public poor review. But we’ll learn it, because we need both to become the best.