After believing that my writing life would be perfect once I finally had my own blog, imagine my dismay when I have continued to have compositional problems over the last couple of months.
Actually, this blog itself has caused me a good amount of grief. I don’t write in it often enough. When I do blog, it takes me much too long, detracting from the other projects I should be working on. And then there’s the issue of rewriting.
Did you know you can go back and edit a blog posting as many times as you want? It’s true. I could go back right now, in fact, and edit my very first blog. I could fix some misspelled words or improper syntax. I could even predict that on June 23 I would be discouraged with the whole blogging process, and then, months later, when someone first stumbles onto this site and decides to read from day one, he’ll think I’m a prophet! Or at least a very able grammarian.
The problem with all this rewriting potential is that I’m really never finished with a blog, even if I think I am. For instance, after I finished “Dust,” I read through it, generally liked it, and selected the “Publish Post” button. As soon as it was posted, I reread it, found a word I had misspelled, edited it and posted it again. The next day, I decided to read it again, and found another misspelled word, an omitted word, and a couple of words I just wanted to change. So, I edited and reposted again. I could do that forever.
Blogging is not my first experience with the woes of rewriting. For my first graduate course, the professor provided no grades on any of our papers until we turned them all in as a portfolio at the end of the semester. What he did provide for us, however, was feedback on every paper we turned in throughout the semester. He then let us rewrite them as many times as we wanted, each time giving us more feedback, until the course ended. I took full advantage of the policy, rewriting some things three and four times.
I got an A in the course. What do you think that taught me about rewriting?
Rewriting is actually an important part of writing. I just had the opportunity to rewrite an article that I had submitted for publication. The editors liked some of what I had written, but they felt it needed to be reworked. Rather than saying “no” to publication or rewriting it in their own words, they gave me another shot on my own. When I was done with the second version, I have to say it is better. They were right to ask for the rewrite (though I don’t know yet if they will actually buy it or not).
But in both of the examples above, there was a logical end to the path of rewriting. And so for blogging, I’ll probably have to create some kind of rule for myself, like I can edit only up to a week and then I have to let it stand.
Otherwise, I may find myself changing more than the words of this blog. I may find myself changing history. Because believe me, I am no prophet.
P.S. It’s now June 24, and I just made a couple of changes on this very post. I promise I wasn’t planning to do it for theatrics sake. It’s just an illness I have.