Stephanie here. I listened to a podcast on Writing Excuses (The Four Principles of Puppetry with Mary Robinette Kowal) that was so good, I actually listened to it several times in a row to absorb it all. The whole thing is brilliant, but this quote really jumped out at me:
As a writer, you can only show the audience one thing at a time ... So what you are having [the reader] focus on needs to be what you want them to think about.Perhaps this principle struck me because I was drowning in edits at the time, a phase where I'm constantly asking myself, "Is this the best way to say what I'm trying to say?" But after listening to Mary Robinette Kowal talk about this concept of choosing your focus, my mantra with each sentence became, "Is this the best thing to show my reader?"
If you're feeling adventurous, try looking over a page in your manuscript and see if asking yourself that same question changes anything.