Getting blogged down in my writing

You may not believe this, but I’ve actually been working on this post for half an hour. And this is all I’ve come up with.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I’ve been typing pretty much the whole time. But then I look at what’s on the screen, drag my mouse pointer over it all, and make it disappear with the push of a button.

So while I try to make it seem like I just sit at the computer, tap away for ten minutes and hit ‘publish’, it’s nothing like that. Each post takes me roughly an hour, thanks to the false starts, multiple drafts and endless tinkering. (It’s probably just well I don’t start until 10pm, or I might end up spending half a day on each one.)

Now I could understand if these were articles for a commercial blog, something I was getting paid to write. But it’s just me talking about something on my mind, or an idea I’ve just had. If there was ever a place I could just type the first thing that comes into my head, this should be it.

A friend of mine is also writing a personal blog. (She’s probably my biggest inspiration in writing this one—thanks, Jen!) And hers also feels like she just sat down at the computer, tapped away for a while and hit ‘publish’.

The thing is, that’s what she actually does. It takes her about 15 minutes to write a post, and yet what she ends up publishing is some of the most beautiful prose I’ve seen in quite a while. (Needless to say I’m extremely jealous.)

I’m telling myself that it’s not a bad thing, that going through the same steps writing a post as I would an article will help me in the long run. But I’d still like to get a lot quicker at doing it, if only so I can get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

There’s an excellent book on my shelf by David Fryxell: “How to write fast (while writing well)”. It might be time to take it down and give it another read.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Jen February 7, 2010, 11:22 am

    And, of course, I’m completely jealous of your dedication, determination and patience in writing and editing for an hour every night. Of the time you put into making sure you’re completely happy with what you’re putting out there.

    I’m not sure where to go looking for that.

    Thank you again, Bill, for the lovely thoughts.

    Reply
    • Bill Harper February 9, 2010, 1:40 pm

      I think we have a slightly different writing process. You seem to write so much more in your head, and so by the time you get to the keyboard you’re already writing the final draft. When I get to the keyboard I’m very much doing the first draft, if not doing the initial planning.

      Being happy with what I’ve written is a survival thing, especially seeing as I’m writing these so late in the evening. If I don’t do it, I spend half the night going over it in my head, rewriting sentences, moving paragraphs. And I’m barely getting enough sleep as it is without that happening.

      Reply

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