In 1990, the Mbuji-Mayi district of Zaire, an alluvial digger discovered a perfect rough diamond weighing 777 carats. He approached a local De Beers buyer, who immediately recognized its extraordinary beauty and purchased it.

Today, it is known as the DeBeers Millennium Star Diamond. It is the second largest known top-color diamond in the world and is insured for $169,475,000. It took three years—and 100 plastic models—to cut the rough diamond into its flawless, pear shape of 203.04 carats.

That’s right. They cut 573.96 carats off the original diamond. In other words, the stone cutters removed approximately 75% of the original stone to get to the flawless heart and shape of the diamond.

What the stone cutters removed were still diamonds and were probably used in other pieces of jewelry. But, there was something about those other pieces that needed to be removed. Perhaps they contained flaws. Perhaps they were flawless, but they were not located within the heart of the Millennium Star’s perfect shape.

I remind myself of this stone whenever I am writing and going through the editing process.The words I select might be beautiful and evocative and – my opinion – inspired. But, if they do not contribute to the overall beauty of the story/article/play, I must cut them.

However, just because I cut them does not mean a word/phrase/description/scene has no value. I often add them to my ‘Writer’s Dictionary’ where I keep words/phrases/descriptions I want to use in future work. At the right time, they will become a beautiful part of another manuscript.

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