I have an issue with publishing or, more specifically, I have an issue with the editing process. Perhaps writings on this site are better suited for the short and thoughtful, instead of the drawn-out, immaculately-edited expectations that I put on myself and that NaNoWriMo skirts because those 50,000 words are not for publishing.
Now that November has passed and Ulysses is telling me I wrote approximately 4,000 words, I wanted to write a post-mortem on the month that I intended to start a writing habit. Better still, I don’t count this as failure, but as a time for self-reflection. Let me start by saying this:
The reason why Twitter always caught my fancy was the lack of editing it required.1
When writing for a blog audience, especially when dealing with longer posts that (should) provide a coherent story or thought-process—with a beginning, middle, and end—editing is necessary. NaNoWriMo is about getting words onto paper, not about publishing unedited content. I realized this as I started a post about my job and human creative endeavors. That post was not a light piece of reading and it required much editing before putting it up on the site. What came out of that process of editing—and appears to come out of more and more of my editing processes—was never posting the piece in the first place. I have a number of posts that are stuck in the editing process.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with focusing on the process or the tools that help you get to your goal when you in fact ultimately reach your goal. Seeing the forest for the trees is a phrase we use for those who are unable to assess the big picture because they get stuck in the details; that is a common problem for process-oriented people, but that doesn’t need to mean that the details themselves are not important, just that there needs to be a balance in how we approach any problem.
Trying out different applications for any process, be it writing, task management, or otherwise, can even be fun, though not well suited for getting the “actual” tasks done. Where would we be if every writer out there had to find the best pen and paper combination before putting ink to page? On the other hand, I can say with certainty that tools like iWeb, Tumblr, Blogger, and others opened the door for people like me to start putting thoughts into words and publishing them online. And the rest is history.
Unfortunately, in recent history we have seen that some people should edit themselves more on the service, but that is beside the point.↩
Did the Internet community peak at bookmarks? Asked in a different and perhaps more complete way: just as technologies like RSS and email in their purest forms are hard to beat even as technology marches forward, what better technology exists to keep track of information on the ever-expanding Internet than bookmarks? Taken a step further, what better way to share the bookmarked information than a site of your own? As such, I‘ve been reading, which is why I write now.
Working in and having a passion for libraries, I am struck by the fact that the way bookmarks work in the physical world is not directly analogous to bookmarks in the digital world. Bookmarks in the digital world are instead like dog-eared pages or highlighted passages; if you think of the Internet as a single tome, that is. In any case, anything that moves you to deface a book should probably be shared or become immortalized in some other way than just a reference for a future version of yourself.