Leave it out

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We just finished what was possibly one of my favourite assignments of school: a faith assignment.

I wouldn’t call myself a religious person, but I went to a Mennonite school and took religion courses in university, so I’ve done similar assignments before.

I decided to do something a little different, explore something I knew nothing about.

I wrote about the faith of people who read tarot cards. And it was as fascinating as it sounds.

I learned a lot about tarot cards, readings, “fortune tellers” and even my own faith.

The people I chatted with had a lot of interesting stuff to say, but only so many words can fit on a page.

The article wasn’t about Trevor Thorkelson‘s sense of humour. It wasn’t about how Nancy Gill pulled the exact card she was looking for out of the deck three times during our conversation after shuffling it and without having to search. It wasn’t about the accurate card reading that I received or how I felt around these people.

It was about their faith. So everything else was left out.

When you get really invested in a story that can be so painful to do. You need to think really hard about some information. As interesting as something might be, if it doesn’t relate directly to what the topic is, it has to go. If it doesn’t add anything to the article, leave it out. If it doesn’t move the story forward, keep it for something else.

You can blog about what you leave out or post it on Twitter or Facebook. Use those tidbits of information to promote your article in other ways.

I have many notebooks full of interesting details and surprising facts about people I’ve interviewed that have never made it to publication.

Those notebooks will stay stacked on my bookshelves for a day when story ideas aren’t flowing. Maybe they’ll prove useful.

In this case, I’ll be using my leftover notes from my conversations with Nancy to write a blog post for Makers & Market. Watch for it in the coming weeks if you want to know more about what she told me.

 

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