The Process


Well. The piece I wanted to put up next still isn’t done. It’s up over 3200 words now, but still has a few hundred more to go. If that were all it was I’d just bang them out and put it up, but there’s also several days worth of editing, polishing, sending it out to friends and family to give it a test read, and generally making sure that, if it’s going to be some big 4,000 word analytical essay, then it will at least be one worth reading.

Here’s the thing: I really, really want this to be good. I had originally intended to target essays of 1000-2000 words that I could bang out over the course of one week and make of workmanlike quality and moderate insight. I still would like to get there, at some point in the future. However, for the topic of my first longer-form essay I chose the thing that I’ve been wanting to talk about the longest – which happens to be one of the central theses I’ve been building to over the last couple of years writing for the blog. There was no way this one would ever be in any way quick or disposable, no way I would ever be able to settle for the merely serviceable. And, as it gets longer and the verbal mass of it grows, I get more and more intimidated by the work, less sure that it’s all hanging together, and more and more desperate to believe that, in the end, it will all cohere into something relevant and useful.

So another Monday goes by.

I would like to be able to promise that it will be done next Monday, but I’m not ready to do that. It may well be ready then, in which case no one will be happier than I am, but I’m not going to let this one go until I’m confident it’s as good as it can be. I didn’t realize, when I said I would transition to writing smaller faster more intimate things into longer, hardier, and more intricate things that there would be such an innate qualitative difference between the two styles. It’s such a different form of writing it may as well be called by two different activities. In the former, it’s the process of pulling something out of myself and putting it into words, and in the latter it’s the process of finding something external to myself, finding its shape, and building a shell of words around it to represent it. Not only does the latter demand more rigor, it also fails to offer the relief of the former, the relief of vomiting, a lanced boil, defecation, amputation, or defeat.

Which is half the reason I’m going into such detail here. The other half is because I’d feel like a jerk leaving this blog essentially un-updated for three consecutive weeks. I hope that hearing the reasons why might give you some of the entertainments that a regular weekly post would usually offer, and I’m certain that many of you other writers out there feel some wry, familial, sympathetic amusement with my struggle

The creative process at work – in all its glorious splendor.


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