77 Drafts

I currently have seventy seven (that’s 77) blog posts in “draft” form. That’s almost a year’s worth if I post at a rate of 1.5 per week. But most of them will never see the light of day because they’ve lost their immediacy or would require too much work to justify publishing them.

Some are merely notes to myself. For example, the title of one is “Atwood said…” and the body contains the rather unhelpful note “re-listen to the interview. She said some things that were blogworthy.” Unfortunately I wrote that so long ago I no longer remember what interview I was referring to. Another is a review of a sandwich I ate in a food court about two years ago. That one’s a bit stale by now.

I also have a transcript of the “full statement” of Judith Regan, the almost-publisher of If I Did It, OJ Simpson’s almost-fictional account of the notorious murders that he seems to have gotten away with. It’s a rambling, 2000 word explanation of why she wanted to publish the book. I have no idea why I wanted to reproduce the statement on my blog, but some clues might lie in my preamble:

I wonder just how much the OJ trial and acquittal contributed to the continuing numbness and cynicism of the American public. When I was young, the idea of a known and unconvicted murderer walking around as a celebrity was absurd. Too unrealistic to even put in a comic book.

It goes beyond OJ; Johnny Cochrane’s celebrity status rose considerably. So the message is not just that “getting away with murder is OK;” it has expanded to “enabling people to get away with murder is OK.” That’s not to say that OJ and others like him are not entitled to a fair trial. The problem is that “beating the system” has become so ingrained as a desirable thing to do that when someone gets away with murder it is seen as something to be celebrated.

I should probably just trash at least half of these drafts. But some are worth saving and working on. But they tend to be ones that require a bit of research and fact-checking, and frankly I just don’t have time for that now. (But stay tuned…)

8 thoughts on “77 Drafts

  1. Gee. I rarely use the drafts. 77? Wow man. Am I missing something in the blogging methodology?

  2. It’s more the writing methodology than strictly the blogging methodology. As a writer (outside of this blog, that’s how I make my living), I’m accustomed to the idea of writing drafts, rewriting, letting them percolate and stew for a while, etc.

    I don’t do that on all of my posts, but most of the longer ones have gone through a process like that. (Not that you can tell, with all the typos I keep making!)

  3. I see. So your writers methods are bleeding into your blogging. Because I blog only when I have something to say, not out of obligation and when time permits, so when I write, the publishing usually gets done soon after. I’ve always needed some sense of immediacy also. But I’m no writer either, just a blogger.

    I think it was Miro, the painter, who would work on a painting, then put it away, sometimes for up to 8 years at a time and then work on it again.

  4. I too usually only blog when I have something to say; it’s just that sometimes I’m not completely ready to say it. An example would be the Atwood reference in the post above; I listened to the interview on a podcast and made some mental notes. Then I made that note in a draft to go back and listen again, but I never got around to it.

    Also, as you might have noticed, it’s not unusual for me to make a post that runs to 1000 words. Such posts are rarely spur of the moment; they come from ideas that I’ve been thinking about for a while and that I’m still exploring as I write the first draft, so I want to take the time to make sure I get it right.

    I have “blogworthy” ideas five or ten times a day, but they’re just ideas that are not thought through. If I occasionally lament that “I have nothing to blog about” what I really mean is “I have nothing quick to blog about, but if I had a couple of hours and a bit of energy there’s a whole bunch of things I’d blog about.”

    To be honest, a blog is probably not the perfect venue for a lot of my longer posts, but it’s the only one I have. Quick posts (like this one) do generally come quickly and are posted quickly, as is normal in blogging. There’s nothing wrong with posting “first draft” (ok, second draft) of short posts. But I really hate it when people do long posts and don’t give them the care they need. You end up with 1000 rambling, grammatically misstructured words in which the arguments are unclear and the logic is weak. Why bother? Why not do it right and give the post some legs to stand on?

  5. I see your point. Myself I type stuff up on a word processor firstly to take out as many mistakes and typos as possible and usually keep a work in progress on my hard drive. I’m not comfortable with the blogging interface to write, only to do the processing once the words are done.

  6. Speaking of “If I did it” and the knee jerk reaction you describe regarding, “Oooh, that’s a great subject for a blog, but…” check the latest tizzy on on the news thingies –

    Drew Peterson says a Web site established to raise money for his legal defense will be a test of the American people’s generosity.

    Welcome to the weborhood, Drew.

    If any of you happen to be in the Bolingbrook, IL. area you could save us all the trouble of registering for PayPal by keeping an eye out for a large blue barrel.

  7. I also tend to accumulate drafts and notebook jottings. And they stay drafts for the same reasons you outline. But there’s a alot of “cross-polination” that happens when you have several idea-seeds incubating, and stuff from one draft lends itself to the completion of another which eventually leads to clicking that “publish” button.

    As for the length of posts – I feel your pain! It’s a struggle to take complex topics and distill the key points to fit readily within the constraints/format of this medium. Over time I’ve come to think of blog posts like writerly sushi: tightly packed mouthfuls of flavour, as opposed 7-course meals (like, say, a novel or research paper).

    Mind you, blog posts taste WAY better if left to stand around for 180 days. ;)

  8. I tend to post or comment whatever crap comes into my head. I’m sure it will haunt me in my later career.

    At least I try to keep work out of it, but I do picture the CIS assiduously logging all of this, and using Facebook to check my movements and associations.

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