My writing coach, Stephanie Lee, was the first person to lay the line on me: “kill your darlings.” She was referencing my inability (at the time) to remove passages and lines from a piece of my work that I had become somewhat married to.
Coming from someone who has written poems, songs, articles and a book since I was in grade school, it was always easy for me to be somewhat possessive of my work. Years ago, when I was pitching some of my songs to an industry executive, he told me “The best songs are re-written.”
I didn’t believe him. At the time, whatever amount of ego I had could not fathom the idea of changing something once I committed it to paper. That’s not to say a song wouldn’t go through edits during the actual writing but once every chorus, verse and bridge was down, little else changed after that.
Some attribute the term “kill your darlings” to William Faulkner. Like a lot of mis-used and oft quoted lines, sometimes the original source can be hard to find. Through some of my own digging, I uncovered this from Arthur Quiller-Couch (circa 1914):
“If you here require a practical rule of me, I will present you with this: ‘Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”
And it’s a phrase that I think many writers learn to live with.
Even famed author, Stephen King, weighed in on the discussion with his quote: “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it break your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”
Coincidentally, murdering your darlings can be a fantastic tool for weight loss and I have to encourage you to do the same.
Over the years, it’s been easy to lose count of the things my clients have clung so tightly to. Perceptions, beliefs and myths (in many ways) that I believe have distracted them from progress.
Things you may have heard like:
“Fruit makes you fat.”
“Carbs are addictive.”
“I’ll never be as lean/strong/capable as I was in high school.”
“Eating past 7pm makes the body store more fat.”
“Training fasted is the best way to burn fat.”
“Keto/paleo/vegan is the optimal way to eat.”
“Inflammation is keeping me from weight loss.”
“I can’t lose weight since I hit menopause.”
There is little else more discouraging, more damning and more destructive than the person who continues to cling to misconceptions about their health and refuses to murder their darlings keeping a better outcome from happening.
Nearly every person who has walked through my doors has held tightly onto some notion that proved to be incorrect.
Please don’t misunderstand that statement.
Not everyone who is wrong with these beliefs comes to terms with them.
I’m very vocal about the fact that sensationalist journalism and social media play into these things. I believe people like Dr. Oz are no better. We (as people) are being force-fed ideas about health that are not universal, that are not one-size-fits-all and we’re being told it’s the best way.
I would ask you to divorce some of these notions and try something different.
Try an approach that’s simpler, less dogmatic, more flexible with your lifestyle and probably not what your neighbor is doing (who likely got their information from Dr. Oz.)
You will likely find, as many of my clients have, that what journalism might sell you on can have a shred of truth to it but it’s probably not the whole truth you’re looking for.
If weight loss has been eluding you, there is something you’re holding onto. There is a darling that needs to be removed, an obstacle that has been in your way for all this time.
We help our clients find those things.
“We Make Great People Greater”
(Below is a picture of me with my son, Jackson. I can write and re-write many parts of my life but this “darling”, he’s staying.)