An idea comes into my head, often from something I read combining with something I already know or already believe (many times two different things 😀). Sometimes I will like this new thought and want to express it.
But I probably won’t write it down unless I think it might make a good blog post. Can I expand on it? Does it lead somewhere? Do I find it interesting or entertaining? Can I add some humor? Can I find a good quote to accompany it? Or a good photo to illustrate it?
I’ll write things down, only to realize that the idea doesn’t make sense, is badly explained, doesn’t flow. That what I’ve written is just a bunch of disconnected things with nothing to tie them together. In other words, it’s a piece of crap, a shitty first draft. So I’ll search for a good photo to save the day. I’ll download a few and choose one to use.
Despite the great photo, the writing is still disconnected and boring.
I’ll rearrange and rewrite things a bit trying to get the actual writing better, even if the content is still lacking. Then I’ll save what I’ve done. Over the next day or few I’ll have more thoughts about how I could have said something better. I’ll think of a way to connect the ideas or to reorganize things so they flow better.
When I finally think the post makes sense and is readable I will try to cut words. I love this part, looking for unnecessary words and deleting them. Shortening sentences and phrases. Then I will read the post in Preview mode. For some reason I see the post very differently in Preview mode than in Edit mode. I see the bad grammar, the redundant or repeated words, the badly expressed ideas, the repetitions, and the little flaws that I didn’t notice while editing. It’s very strange and it happens every time.
So now I’ll alternate between Preview and Edit mode until I’m satisfied with the post. I know it’s not perfect but I’ve got rid of the major flaws. Then I usually show it to Tanya who will gently point out that the whole thing is pointless and rubbish. I will make more changes.
Now I press the Publish button and walk away. I don’t spend any time thinking about who will read it and whether they will like it because in the end I’m writing for myself, not for others. So I let go of that post, already having an idea for a new post.
And so the cycle continues.
Links and Other Clicks
Annie Lamott writing about Shitty First Drafts. It’s the second section in the document.