Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be doing edits to my manuscript—finally. Especially after spending years writing and rewriting and changing and revising, making chapter four chapter one and later dropping chapter one altogether and replacing it with what was once chapter one in 2006.

So clearly I’m in the home stretch. However, I find editing as challenging as writing, maybe more so.

In order to help me, inspire me, encourage me and just move me along, I have compiled a list of quotes, which I taped by my computer.

Here they are in no special order of significance.

May you find them helpful too.

There is no great writing, only great rewriting.

Justice Brandeis

Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination.

Louise Brooks

I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.

Truman Capote

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

-Scott Adams

All writing is a process of elimination.

-Martha Albrand

It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.

C. J. Cherryh

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.

-Thomas Jefferson

Try any goddam thing you like, no matter how boringly normal or outrageous. If it works, fine. If it doesn’t, toss it. Toss it even if you love it.

-Stephen King

I have written – often several times – every word I have ever published.

Vladimir Nabokov

It is my contention that a really great novel is made with a knife and not a pen. A novelist must have the intestinal fortitude to cut out even the most brilliant passage so long as it doesn’t advance the story.

Frank Yerby

The wastepaper basket is the writer’s best friend.

Isaac Bashevis Singer

“When in doubt, delete it.”

-Philip Cosby

“Art, it seems to me, should simplify finding what conventions of form and what detail one can do without and yet preserve the spirit of the whole – so that all that one has suppressed and cut away is there to the reader’s consciousness as much as if it were in type on the page.”

Willa Cather

“The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.”

E.B. White

By Marianna Crane

After a long career in nursing--I was one of the first certified gerontological nurse practitioners--I am now a writer. My writings center around patients I have had over the years that continue to haunt my memory unless I record their stories. In addition, I write about growing older, confronting ageism, creativity and food. My memoir, "Stories from the Tenth Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers" is available where ever books are sold.


  1. I especially liked Willa Cather’s comment that what you leave out is what the reader should be able to intuit from what you have left in. I know I’m paraphrasing it badly but that, indeed, is the gist of what we try to do with our writing. In writing memoir we should endeavor to make the scenes and details so vivid that the reader is there, drawing the same implications and conclusions the author did.


  2. Oh, the joy of the writer. To rewrite, to revise. Endlessly. And then, when we think it’s about time that we should be finished, we edit, word for word for word! Good luck!


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