I declare, I am going to clear out files, toss all those clippings I hoard as if they're gold, and have a bon fire in the back yard with twenty-year-old tax files. Clearing out my dad's house has made me swear I won't do this to anyone else. Of course, I talk a good game. We'll see how brutal I really am with the old junk crammed into cabinets and desk drawers. I really get in trouble when I start reading what's in the files, and before you know it, I talk myself out of hitting the trash pile with the excess paper.

How do you know when to cut your manuscript? Whenever your attention wanders as you're
reading through it. It's as simple as that. You know you love rereading your own words. What could be better? So if you get bored, hit the delete key. Try reading it aloud to yourself. You'll hear the clunkers.

It's always better to do your own dirty work.