Writing with Scissors


We’ve heard the expression ‘running with scissors’, an analogy warning unruly children of a potential impaling should they ignore common sense and challenge convention.  Like many, I grew up hearing the phrase, heeding the warning, careful not to upset society’s delicate balance, or my mother’s ire.

The concept is sound, albeit simplified. Civilized people shun unruly behavior.  As kids we’re taught to play safe, to act conservatively –to behave.  But occasionally, as is life, some abandon the safety of cultural norms and venture beyond the barriers of the status quo, pushing past the limits of societal acceptance into uncharted, precarious domain.

Some of us run with scissors, regardless of the consequences.running

So what does this have to do with writing?

I will admit, when I first considered this as a blog topic, it was the title I came up with that drew me in.  A clever moniker or enticing catch-phrase has the tendency to do that.  As always, when a potential blog post title fires me up, the initial euphoria dissipates when I search the Web to determine if I am in fact the originator of the title/caption in question.

And of course I am not.

To my credit though, the preexisting reference to ‘writing with scissors’, for the most part, revolves around the importance of ‘editing’ – how one should write methodically, contrite, snipping out undesirable passages, questionable structure, and inappropriate language.  Scissors are important, a necessity, for the successful writer.

My analogy is quite the opposite.  And my metaphor, quite strained.

Writing with scissors, according to my liberal interpretation, refers to a precarious, risk-taking approach to storytelling.  A metaphoric stretch,  I agree, but I still like the title.

And I’m not talking Elmer Safety scissors here.

Writers strive to be unique – to stand out in voice, style and originality.  Many, myself included, often fail in this regard.  Far too many of us write conservatively, pumping out mundane stories fraught with generic language, stale delivery and bland generalities. In other words –dull.  Writers often inadvertently constrict their scope, rein in their abilities, and fail to tap their creative potential, for fear of failure, criticism, or ridicule.

Guilty as charged

To break the pattern, to stand above the crowd, aspiring writers need to push the limits, step out from their comfort zone, and test their creative mettle.  They need to expand their range, to become bolder (brass-cojones bolder), and explore their untapped capabilities.

A leap of faith.

Similar to free writing or journaling, the process is about discovery, unleashing your wild, primitive side, that creative doppelgänger we keep locked away, restricted, supervised, jailed.

While taking risks and writing on the edge (of sanity) is not for the weak-willed, the process is essential for growth and development.  Terminating the internal ‘editor’, at least during the initial draft, is critical.  By shutting down your boisterous internal critic you avoid the mundane, the common denominators, the also-rans.  This alone will pave the way for unexpected results.  So what if some confidential (things I only divulge to my therapist) thoughts manifest on the page.  The content will be literary platinum, intriguing, gripping, relatable.  It’s those hidden thoughts and desires, those secret passions, delusions and fantasies that make for memorable writing.  Once you abolish inhibitions, write like nobody’s reading, and swing for the fences, magic happens.

If the mood strikes you, cliché your goddamn heart out.  Tell, don’t show.  Switch from first, second to third person on a whim.  If you catch an adjective, leave it.  Sprinkle adverbs generously.  Throw in some Deus Ex Machina if it feels right.

Screw convention.  Break the rules.  Live dangerously.

For anyone who’s not tried this method, I recommend it.  What’s there to lose?

When you abandon convention, muzzle your editor and ignore the rules, you embark upon a journey of discovery –from within.  Everything changes.

Take the risk.

Grab those scissors.

Until next time,

47 thoughts on “Writing with Scissors

  1. I relate so much to this post and loved the phrase “Write with scissors”. While I go on writing, the number of words crosses its limits and I have to come back, line by line with the scissors. I’ve faced rejection also, simply because I was in no mood to write yet, had to finish deadlines, which actually ended up in rejected work. Well, the world of writing calls for true creativity to survive and if we have to be good.
    – Sarojavasanth

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly! Writing is such a competitive arena, no matter what genre you delve into. Although creativity accounts for a lot, commitment and perseverance plays a major role. The people who never give up usually succeed. Cheers, and thanks for commenting! Much appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dude! Way Way Way overthinking this whole writing thing. I just write what amuses me. Sometimes my stories just come to me and I can’t even type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts.

    I guess I am more free because I’m not getting paid to write. It’s not that I don’t want to get paid. I just haven’t figured out who will pay for my BS.

    Anyway, the last thing I want is for writing to become a “job” with all the constraints applied by a “boss”.

    I may be poor but, I’m free to write what pleases me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the key in the end, writing because you want to. I’ve considered entering the writing for hire market on a small scale, but I would never last, unless I was getting say, $2 a word, then I might consider it. But that ain’t gonna happen.
      I envy you, although I get all sorts of ideas, I struggle to find the motivation to see them through half the time. But I’m still at it.
      As always, I appreciate the feedback. Thanks again!


  3. What a great blog, Mike! Not too mention an eye catching title. Your analogy is perfect. I wholeheartedly agree with not censoring or editing yourself while writing. That is a surefire way to stifle creativity! Sometimes I find it hard to switch off the inward editor but it is so liberating to write with abandon! I think you are a much better writer than you think you are, IMHO. Your posts are thought provoking, wickedly amusing & inspiring. Now, where did I put those scissors? I have some writing to do!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have no trouble writing about the negative stuff, no trouble at all. It’s puppies and kittens side of life I struggle with. I wonder what that says about me? Oh well, lots of pessimistic material to choose so I shouldn’t complain. Thanks for the kind words Susan, your comments are always inspiring and make me smile. Enjoy the weekend, it’s Santa Clause parade night in our town, I have to make sure we have enough Baileys to bring (disguised as hot chocolate.) Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this. I wanted to comment earlier but I read it while I was out and about, usual Saturday gallivanting when the money for the month isn’t finished yet. Lol!
    I try to write without editing… wait, I’m talking nonsense. I always edit while writing. I may be quite free with regards to what I write but I police myself on everything else. I write for me mainly and because I’m not getting paid, I have no one telling me what to write. I do stick to my blog scope, of course. BUT, I do try to write for the readers, too, which I find definitely more challenging than my usual waffle. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s tough road to navigate sometimes, while free writing has its benefits, at some point the editing kicks in. I waver back and forth, but like you, I am free to choose what I want to write about. I don’t think I would survive very long as a gun for hire, unless of course I got to choose the topic, the style, and word length. But that’s probably not happening any time soon. Cheers Anne, thanks for visiting!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Cool post! I’ve just written my first novel on this general idea- uncensored (not unedited) thoughts, straight from the heart, uncomfortable feelings if required. But now I’m wondering if the readers really appreciate that or does one somewhere lose the reader with this approach. ..time will tell in my case, I guess!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Congrats on your accomplishment! There’s always a risk but I think it’s one well worth taking. Sounds to me like you chose the right path. You are right, time will tell, however just reaching this milestone is impressive, and much more awaits you ahead. Thanks so much for commenting. Best of luck with your book!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is Awesomeness!!! 🙂 I love the metaphor, it makes for an awesome title. The title is what sparked my interest. The post itself was a feast that left me extremely full.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Mike you are absolutely right in saying that writers need to push the limits of thought and leap into the unknown from time to time. It may not be for every writer but it is essential that some take the challenge and move human thought forwards.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Peter, it definitely is not for everyone, but everyone should give it a whirl at least once or twice. Cheers for the comment, always appreciated! Best of luck with your B&B also, love the Falls, don’t get there near enough and I’m only 25 minutes away by car!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a great way to think. I often think twice about what I write. Is it smart enough? Am I saying what people want to hear. But often what you really want to say and when you just say it, is some of your best work.
    Love this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you stopped by! Yes, I think we all have a tendency to second guess our creative ‘wild side’ so to speak. But I agree, often it results in some unexpected and unique results. Cheers, and thanks for commenting!


  9. Love this Mike, like you I love it when a title comes to mind and inspires a new post. Since I’ve started writing it’s also been exciting to try writing in different ways. I’ve just started on working on something that’s new for me that I’m hoping to get finished soon, it’s a great feeling to flex the writing muscles!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trying something new is always productive, even if that particular piece doesn’t pan out. I have a difficult time coming up with interesting topics, so often it’s a catchy title that keeps me motivated. I envy writers who have so much material they can post daily if they choose. Cheers, and thanks so much for the kind words, always appreciated!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha I know exactly what you mean! I can’t write for the sake of it (hence dry January!) but I trust that at some point something will find to me!

        Liked by 2 people

Please drop me a line.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s