Killing your darlings

I only learned recently that William Faulkner said the oft-quoted phrase, “Kill your darlings”.

I first heard the line at a SXSW talk on how to succeed in design. In 2008. Granted, being raised by immigrant parents, meant that I often miss common idioms. At the time, I thought it was cute. Yes, of course everyone should kill their babies! To save the most precious one! Save your resources for the one that deserves the most love and care!

But today, I am reluctantly getting there. The worst part of any creative project is killing the darlings. I am suddenly in a midst of a project where I am more than just knee-deep. I am all the way in. Instead of flying through it swimmingly, I am sinking and my toes are getting caught in the mud. It doesn’t feel right, but I know that the mud doesn’t belong. It is making me seeing less of the surface, less of the sun, and less of the oxygen.

I am not afraid, am I? I have finished more than half. I have thought about it over and over again. And I wouldn’t have gotten here if it wasn’t for all the failures and mistakes, right? I’ll create it for them, because it’s what they wanted.

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