I know I’ve said I’m a stickler for spellchecking, but I don’t spellcheck my blog posts. I’ve been perusing through the recently posted ones, and I saw a few grammar mistakes, some trailing commas and capital letters, and some serious misspellings. I proofread what I write once or twice, but I don’t spellcheck. Why?
There are several stages to the writing process (for me at least). Stage one is the idea – I have something jumping around the walls of my bouncy castle brain, and I just let it out. At first I don’t worry about saying anything that makes any sense. Sort of – I do like to keep some type of structure, but I force myself to make it as loose as possible, and remind myself not to worry about making sense. And slowly the words start to form themselves into paragraphs, connected ideas that just, somehow, magically flow. At this point the glob of inspiration I started with has morphed into a coherent plot, complete with a middle, beginning, and end. Surprisingly it transitions smoothly from one point to another, from the introduction to the conclusion. (Surprisingly and ironically, because this is the one area I struggled most in my high school english classes, transitions. Oh no, a double pun, shoot me now.)
Once I’ve dumped my brain onto my screen, I tighten up the loose edges, move some sentences or paragraphs around, add some headers and subheaders (always making sure they are clever, but not too clever so as to be presumptuous). Then I read it over once, making corrections as needed. After which I copy it from my text editor to this WordPress textbox, add some tags, and….
Here comes the critical point. If I mull it over too much, I would never ever publish this or anything else. My ideas would not see the light of public domain. So I just take a deep breath, and click publish (or schedule). Done.
If painstakingly went through every word before I published, nothing would get published, because that would give me more time to debate with myself whether my ideas are worth writing out loud. During stage one, I don’t care, I’m just writing for myself, letting it all out. During stage two, the pre-publish stage, the doubts start creeping in – is this piece good enough? am I saying anything here? do I sound stupid, presumptuous, arrogant, self-serving, or funny and clever and approachable and fun? is this relevant, or is it just rambling? During stage three, post publishing, that’s when the real shit begins – noooooo I shouldn’t have published that! now everyone will see that I’m an idiot! and there’s everlasting proof of my stupidity! whatever I said was stupid and not worth saying! nobody cares! (that’s a lot of exclamations, but that’s how I feel! utter desperation!)
The most important stage comes later. Stage four is reconciliation. I accept the fact that I’ve made my stupidity public, shared my most inner thoughts and feelings with the world, and worst of all nobody even cares so my worry is for naught. Hmm, let’s see exactly how stupid I sound. And I go back and read what I wrote. Note the crucial element here is time – some time has passed before I go back and read about myself. To my utter surprise, and smug content of course, I am impressed by my own writing – wow, I wrote that? that’s pretty good. (half crooked smile on my face).
Finally, stage five, relief – I’m glad I did that. I had totally forgotten all those smart things I thought, and will probably forget later, but would like to remember. Thus I continue writing, and publishing. See, I just did it, just now!
So I sacrifice some typos for visibility, presence, life.
(PS: this had been sitting in my drafts for a while, ironically, but the posting of it was finally prompted by ace eccentric’s enticing deliberation)