Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Autumn Cometh

Posting will be sporadic for the next week. Quarter break! Woo hoo! To celebrate the Autumnal Equinox, among other things, I am going on a self-directed retreat this weekend. Got a motel room about 45 minuites' drive away. It's supposed to have fridge, microwave and broadband Internet access. If that comes through, I will hole up Friday afternoon and not come out until Sunday morning. Time to come to grips with that beast of a novel that's hanging around my house and whip it until it begs for mercy. Or something. At any rate 48 hours of no interruptions to concentrate. My wife will be the only person who knows where I am, and she understands what "emergency" means.

Would you like homework in the meantime? No? Tough! Your assignment, should you decide to accept it, is to write about how you blog and why. Important points to cover will be:

  • Do you post your first draft or edit?
  • Why?
  • How much time do you spend thinking about and preparing a post before it goes online?
  • Anything else you'd like to add?
Just write a post about it and put a link in the comments, if you dare. I'll get things started.

I usually post raw first drafts with only a most cursory proofread. Book reviews are the most frequent exception. You may have noticed misspellings, typos, and really stupid writing tricks that would never appear in a polished essay. I do this for several reasons:

  1. I am practicing composing a more polished first draft. Practice makes better.

  2. I like the spontaneity of stream-of-thought essays. I can't always tell where the post is going to wind up until I get there. Sometimes I discover things that I didn't know were there.

  3. Spontaneous posts are more personal, as a blog should be. If I wanted this blog to be distant and oh-so-very-polished, I would edit the hell out of everything before it hit the screen.

  4. I might chicken out on controversial topics if I stop to think. That would probably be a good thing, sometimes, but mostly it's better to go ahead and get it off my mind.

  5. Talking "out loud" this way gives me a chance to think. Oddly enough, I think better when I am talking about something, even if no one else is present. This does, of course, lead to the occasional strange looks and evasive maneuvers on other people's parts.

  6. Composing on the fly is letting me develop a more conversational tone and voice in my writing. Coming from an academic background, I find that I too often get pedantic and lecture instead of telling a story. Blogging really helps me break through that barrier.
I often decide on a post topic in the morning and think about it all day before actually posting in the evening. This gives me a chance to get my thoughts somewhat organized, though my mental outline almost always goes out the window as soon as I start typing. Thinking it through ahead of time also gives me a chance to figure out what I actually do think. Sometimes I have to change my mind after I have thought about a topic for a couple of hours.

That's my opinion. What's yours?


At 8:03 PM, Blogger Jean said...


Homework complete. Next?

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Melly said...

I haven't done my homework yet, but I wanted to wish you a good retreat.
Don't use that broadband access to blog, you hear?!

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Demented M said...

Have a good retreat, write well, write often. May the muse be with you.


At 5:29 AM, Blogger Lee Carlon said...

I like to sit on a post for a while, but usually just to make sure I get all the typos and grammar glitchs.

You've got me thinking though, perhaps I should see what my wife would think if I decided to check into a motel to write for a weekend.

She'd probably look at me with raised eyebrows and say, "Write? Yeah sure."

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Joel said...

Homework? Like I don't get enough of it listening to all the teeny boppers in the coffeeshop?

Ugh. Alright, alright....

At 11:52 PM, Blogger Debra Young said...


Post of 9/24, titled "Homework". Done! d:)

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Carter said...

Thanks for the good wishes. See my next post for debriefing.

I'll be around to check on everybody's homework over the next few days. Hee hee. Give yourselves an A+.

Lee, at some point in your life you and your wife will both realize that wild shenanigans in motel rooms are no longer an option. This will happen about the same time you realize you just said "When I was you age..." :-)


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