Friday, August 7, 2009

Accountability

When I began this blog with the intention of getting back into the practice of writing more regularly, it seemed a reasonable goal to write something a few times a week. Maybe I should reconsider what I thought "reasonable" might be? A month or more into it now, my last update was over three weeks ago. It's like having an online counter that displays the last time you went to the gym and worked out. The counter doesn't indicate all the times you planned to go to the gym or how many times you packed your duffel bag and put it in the car. Only actual calorie-burning sessions are recorded in this tally. It's a pretty grim accounting system.

I'm finding that I procrastinate writing because I know that to do it well requires thought, effort and sometimes extensive revision. I learned to write on paper, with multiple rough drafts scribbled and tossed. Writing online can obscure the process, and make me think it's much simpler than it really is. I actually like the hard copy drafts, with side-margin additions and circles around sentences, moving them here and there. The sense of process is clearly evident and it is so satisfying to move through the various messy drafts toward the final copy.

Online, the cursor moves forward, and then back as I delete. Cut and paste, replace, delete, all hidden from view. It's a cleaner process, but something is missing. Is my brain wired to write the way I learned 30 years ago?

Why do you procrastinate? Notice I didn't ask if you did or not.

2 comments:

  1. Tracy, I totally understand procrastinating. For me, it seems to be that if I can't do it perfectly (which I can't anyway), or I can't finish it at one sitting, I don't start at all (with 6 kids, it's really hard to do). I, too, love hard copy. Which is why we have so many books, even though some are available online. Not the same, just NOT the same.

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  2. Hey, I just checked back to see if you've updated your blog... that's how I'm procrastinating... btw, I write most of my blog entries in one long document that accumulates them all. That makes it easier to capture tangential thoughts for later use without stopping the flow. I still print out almost anything I write between drafts, and do hardcopy editing and re-writing. It puts your brain in a different gear...

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