The saying “Murder Your Darlings” was, I think popularized among writers in this very book.
It refers to editing ones work and the fact that once you write something, it becomes special to you.
And a passage or chapter that becomes a treasured possession becomes harder and harder to cut during the editing process.
King’s point here is that a useful editing job, however, necessarily requires cutting and changing one’s work on a constant basis.
So writers need to get over their attachment to their work and not be afraid to “murder their darlings.”
I feel like I agree here – and disagree at the same time.
So while I don’t think artists and writers should not be intentionally putting out work they know is trash, I also think they don’t need to spend a year editing and rewriting looking for “perfection.”
I mean, everyone thought Van Gogh was painting garbage his entire life.
Thank goodness he didn’t spend forever fretting over perfection and only get a half dozen paintings finished.
If it works, fine. If it doesn’t, toss it. Toss it even if you love it. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch once said, “Murder
yourdarlings,” and he was right.
-Stephen King, On Writing