Yesterday I discovered a fantastic magazine. I really wanted to send one of my essays to this place. I dusted it off from my computer files only to realize it was way too long. The venue called for 800 words. My piece was 1,300. No problemo! All I had to do was chop 500 words! Which turned out not only to take all day but to be painfully difficult. I had to cut characters! To get rid of every excess word and description (even my favorite lines–my funny ones, my pets!). But, in the end, the essay was so much better for it. Whether the aforementioned magazine will agree is yet to be seen. Still, it was a good lesson. An exercise in faith. My writing can withstand—can thrive under—major word-count pruning. Good to know.