Since I am now also a gardener, you will have to excuse the occasional, and occasionally frequent, references to all things green and growing. Or green and not growing. Or growing and not so green. It is amazing where the mind can wander while the body is pushing a lawnmower or pulling out weeds. It is a kind of meditation.
Gardening is a bit like writing. Take weeding, for example. No matter the precautions you take in laying down weed mat or spraying with herbicide or piling up the mulch, weeds will be. No matter your resolution to write cleanly and clearly and in your own unique voice, nasties will surely creep in. Those weedy things like adjectives and passive voice and clichés, self-conscious sentences and look-how-clever-I-am phrases and embarrassing dialogue. Turn your back for one moment and they come up like, well, like weeds.
Never think you’re too clever to edit. Those tiny sprouts greening your garden bed? The lawn looking so lush in places? Look closely, they may just be weeds. Don’t show off your new garden before you’ve done some weeding; it could lead to serious embarrassment.
On the other hand, just to be contrary, don’t take any editing advice without a pinch of salt. Genius is knowing when to break the rules creatively. A weed is after all just the right plant growing in the wrong place. People have made fortunes from noxious weeds.