The hardest part of writing is editing. Everybody who has ever written something will tell you that. For me the hardest part of editing is trimming chapters. My second supervisor recently asked me whether the chapter I sent him could be trimmed. Fun fact: I had already trimmed it because my main supervisor thought it was a bit long. Naturally, my day was ruined.
Cutting text is easy when we’re dealing with actual redundancies. Sometimes I repeat myself while writing because I don’t think about it when the words flow nicely. The easier writing is the more likely I am to write the same things twice because I’m caught up in the flow. Deleting repetitions is easy – once you spot them. I have read my chapters a dozen times so basically everything appears redundant to me. That’s where your alpha readers come in.
Now when it comes to trimming I have found a way to trick myself into doing it. Instead of deleting whole paragraphs (even typing that makes me anxious), I copy them into the ‚bits and pieces‘ folder. This way nothing is lost and I can retrieve it if necessary. Or perhaps I can reuse it for a paper or article or something.
Needless to say, you should never ever make too many changes without saving a copy of the chapter beforehand.