A dilemma I’ve had on more than a few occasions lately is the amount of time it can take (not always) to publish a blog post.
I have a tendency to type something then spend what can be sometimes a not inconsiderable amount of time going back through what I’ve typed and revise, edit, delete, add, and other such editorial tasks. I seem to be unable to ‘let it go’ easily to be published to the WordPress cinema screen for viewing by those who choose to view.
Spelling mistakes aside (there’s always something that escapes, even with spell check on), I can re-read and think “That could be clearer” or “That sentence is too long” or “There’s something else I could add here” etc. This is probably a reason why my ‘saved draft’ folder is growing alarmingly! As in life so with blogging, the oft heard voice in my head saying, “I’ll finish it later today…tomorrow…next week…” comes closer and closer to “It’ll sit in the saved draft folder for an unknown but likely eon-like length of time”.
Sometimes its good to just type it, have a quick scan through it and publish it. I have done this even when the analytical engine in my head is in overdrive already with suggestions in various categories from ‘could be revised but not essential’ to ‘change it or its gonna bug you for ever’!
But I admit there’s a part of me that likes the activity of looking back over something, editing, revising, trying to give a description greater clarity, trying to summarise a passage that’s a bit too long to be helpful, trying to find a different word when I’ve used the same word too many times. Perhaps its a throw back to my student days, the endless revision to get everything just right in the essay, perhaps its simply that that’s the way my mind works and I do get a certain pleasure from the process, regardless of whether anyone reads it or not, perhaps its trying as hard as I can to get the words that appear on screen as close to the thoughts and ideas in my head as I can. There’s always a gulf between the two but sometimes I get closer 🙂
Its entirely possible that from my time in academic education, I have a real awareness that the very first thing I write is frequently ‘not very good’ and rarely resembles the finished ‘ready to hand in’ essay. Ask any writer of novels and they’ll know that feeling.
I think ultimately its a personal thing. Some people seem able to convey, more or less, what they want the first time, more or less, they write it. For others, like me, it takes longer for a thought/idea to reach fruition in the mind, but the process the mind uses is to slowly reveal ‘what lies beneath’ as the typing or writing progresses. Rarely does my mind comes up with the goods at first, or even second or third, time of asking, it needs a certain amount of perusing, thought, weighing up, before its ready to divulge its true wisdom. Again, the novelist will say the same. Although ideas, characters etc sometimes ‘pop into the head’ fully formed, normally its a longer process to tease from an idea a greater idea, to tease from a seed the flower it will become, from having a sense of a character to having the fleshed out form. You don’t see everything at once, it comes in layers and layers usually take time.
When you read a piece of writing its sometimes obvious that the writer is either a genius and managed to get a beautiful piece of writing down first time or, more likely, has taken the time and effort to cultivate it, formulate how to say it best, caressed it with the care one might give to nurturing a newborn baby. There are some novels I have read, and some non-fiction, where I know that the story has been thought through carefully, planned, reflected on until just the right words appear giving just the right flow in just the right way. Sometimes its a pleasure to read. I’ve read others where I’ve thought there’s little or no thought gone into it at all. At times I wonder if the publisher of a book has given up waiting and just told the author “Give us what you’ve got and we’ll publish…” and it shows (my supervisor from college days will testify to this). There’s always the middle ground too, ideas given time but perhaps not quite enough time. Then again that could describe half the books in the market.
But sometimes there just isn’t time to revise something too much because day to day life gets in the way. Its good then that even when you want to revise and delve deeper and for longer, the mind can be trained to ‘just let it go’. You can always come back to it later, post a revised version, jot down notes as they comes to you for later investigation. Sometimes its good to just do it, let it go, and move on…or you might be there forever.
ps. I confess I had a quick scan over this before publishing it, not for long, but just long enough to add in one bit, not telling you where though 😉
Thanks for reading.