Friday, December 07, 2007

in which I apologize for laziness

I've been realizing lately why I love the whole drafting process: it lets me be one lazy-ass writer. I write without worrying about making my thoughts intelligible to anyone else, including my future self re-reading the draft. Explaining is, honestly, a lot of work. Things that are completely clear to me require explanation not only of the ideas themselves, but also of the premises behind the ideas, why they fit together in the first place, when all I want to do is keep thinking on my own. The draft of this first chapter is in many ways like an outline in sentence-and-paragraph form: the ideas are there, but in a kind of intellectual shorthand. They're all placeholders for an actual act of communication with potential readers, the kind of writing into which I plan to revise the chapter.

Paradoxically, on this blog--which, potentially, has many more readers than my dissertation will--I never revise for clarity. If you can't read my mind, deal with it, I seem to say.

This may not be the best way of expressing thoughts more complex than "I am hungry for rice pudding," however.

So my apologies if that most recent post, and others in the more exploratory vein, are vague or confusing or not productive of conversation. I may start actually using that "draft" button on Blogger.


luckybuzz said...

"Paradoxically, on this blog--which, potentially, has many more readers than my dissertation will--I never revise for clarity."

This is awesome--I never really thought about it, but it's true that my blog has WAY more readers than my dissertation will. (In its unpublished form, anyway.) And I never revise blog posts.

I think there's a lesson for me here... :)

SK said...

But if you use the draft button, would that make you a lazy blogger?

Being unintelligible is more fun.

kermitthefrog said...

Sometimes it is more fun, in the sense that you know you're only communicating to people who can quasi-read minds.

Belle said...

You crack me up. See, I think of blogs as those kinds of conversations with people who either get you - in which case they fill in the blanks and enjoy the way your froggy mind works - or they don't. In which case they wander off without snarking or asking for clarification.

BTW, I too love drafting for many of the same reasons. Do you write on paper or screen? I write completely differently depending on the technology. And my pen-to-paper is much more spontaneous and free flowing.

kermitthefrog said...

Belle -- both. Or, more accurately, I'll scribble on paper, working out an outline of where the next part of the writing will go, and then do the actual writing in sentence form on screen. I find paper much better for physically shaping an argument (listing items, drawing arrows, etc.).