Kill Your Darlings
There's a phrase that filmmakers and writers alike throw out when they are stuck in the middle of their art. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this phrase over the past few months. And it's...
In writing, you must kill all your darlings.
- William Faulkner
Why does Faulkner say this?
Because clinging to the things that you cherish but aren't actually good for your writing is madness.
This applies to filmmaking as well.
Is a scene that you love not working out or adding to the film? Kill your darlings.
Does that one shot that you love not fit with the style of the film? Kill your darlings.
Does a character that you've written not fulfill a purpose? Kill your darlings.
Harsh, but true.
While editing the film I worked on for the past year, this phrase became all the more real. Love that shot? Not working?
Love that little sound clip but it becomes confusing for the rest of the film?
Enjoy that exchange between two characters but it doesn't make sense for the next scene?
You got it. Kill your darlings.
Only this idea goes beyond writing and filmmaking.
Dreading editing that scene because you don't know where to start?
Struggling to make time to sit down and work on the film?
Spending more time on social media than doing the work you should be doing?
Saying hurtful words to a friend because you just had to get them off your chest?
Choosing to eat more than you should?
I'm learning to be honest with myself when the decisions that I make are not working. In that, they do not lead to life but to death. Ever try procrastinating on writing a ten page paper? It sure does feel like death.
Kill your darlings.
In this case, I'm learning to kill the sin that is keeping me from doing what is right. Ultimately doing what is right leads to honoring, serving, and glorifying God. So why wouldn't I want to do what is right?
But they aren't called "darlings" for nothing.
Scripture puts it better. I recommend reading all of Romans 8, but here is a snippet:
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Submit to the Spirit's work of putting to death the deeds of the body, killing your darlings, and you will live.
Will you seek to remember this daily with me?
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