Cut! Cut Cut!

This is a transcription of Stories We Don't Tell Podcast Episode 62: Find your moment. Listen to the podcast episode HERE.

This is part four of our five part series: don't take this advice. But, if you're going to take one piece of advice, make it this one: cut, cut, cut. Basically: edit, edit, edit.

This might seem very obvious. Every piece of advice usually seems obvious but people don't do it. People just don't do it. When people don't edit, they don't fully understand what their story is about. And so they think they need to include a whole bunch of other information that doesn't necessarily relate to their actual story. And so they include a lot of parts at the beginning getting the audience all caught up, when a lot of those details might not matter. It really comes down to knowing what your story actually is about.

You can be precious with your story at the beginning but now is not the time to be precious with it. And if something's got to go it's got to go. Many times what actually happens is when you cut a part of the story, that might develop into an entirely different story. So you're never throwing anything away. But you also really have to have an understanding of what's the focus, stick to that focus and just cut the shit out of it.

No one has ever said a speech is too short or a story is too short. You can also benefit from sharing your story with a trusted person. This is one moment where you want other people to read or listen to your story. You want them to tell you if a percentage of it doesn't make sense, especially if you are certain you can't get it under a certain time limit.

This is a bit of a danger zone for people because there also is a tendency to think, "It's perfect! I cannot cut another word!" You really have to be open minded in order to make the best editorial decisions for your story. You need to have a single-minded focus on what you can edit to make your story better. Sometimes that might even mean cutting the thing that made you start writing the story in the first place.

To wrap up, first you write out your story, find the moment in all that writing, place your story in context and edit the shit out of it.