Sometimes I find it very hard to know what to put into an article or piece of fiction. I find myself having to go back and remove a dozen wrong tracks. One day, someone gave me some good advice. The more I write, the more I realise how good the advice was.
“Write what the readers want to spend time reading.”
For non-fiction, that means keeping it on topic, no matter how interesting the piece of trivia may be. I go back over it with my teacher hat on and ask, are you answering the question (or is this on topic)? Anything I put a mental red line through comes out. Quite often, the thought goes into the ideas pile for a different article, so the creativity doesn’t go to waste.
For fiction it gets harder, but the advice still applies. I make myself ask, does the reader really want to know that? Do they care? Have I already told them that before? If I answer no to the first two, or yes to the last one, out it comes.