Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dead Letter Office

Over the year and a half that I have writing a blog, I have accumulated over thirty drafts that await publication, revision, or deletion. I really ought to do something about these orphans.

There are many reasons why I abandon a piece. Most often, I read the post and find it to be lacking in interest, humor, factual research, or passion. Other times I leave it because I find a piece that says what I was going to write, usually with more elegance (there are a lot of good writers out there!). There are times when I hesitate, and then the subject becomes no longer topical. Then there are those occasions when I simply forgot what my point was, or I have just plain run out of gas that day.

So what do other writers do when they start an essay but run into these sorts of roadblocks? Or do they simply avoid them altogether before they begin a post? Do most writers finish every essay that they begin? I invite you to share experiences and opinions in dealing with these questions.

4 comments:

J G-W said...

I have similar literary (or -- maybe that's too high-falutin' a word -- bloggerary) orphans, for all the same reasons you cited. I usually keep 'em around for a while and then periodically make judicious use of the "delete" button. Sometimes when I revisit them, I find I've said what I wanted to say better in a different blog. Sometimes I realize I didn't publish a piece for a good reason.

Sometimes I realize that the danger of the blogging medium is it's far too easy to publish stuff that should probably never see the light of a monitor. But what are you to do? Better to express and connect even imperfectly...

Knight of Nothing said...

Thanks for the reply John! I'm glad I'm not the only one who has this happen. :-)

I should start to make "judicious use of the 'delete' button" too. This is another problem I have! I tend to be a electronic packrat: I save emails, scraps of writings, interesting pictures, videos, and links far longer than I ought, and far more of them than I'd ever revisit.

Oh well. One thing at a time.

Andrea said...

The main reason I abandon a piece is that I have written something that violates a rule of mine, and I can't figure out how to say what I want to say without violating the rule. The rules are things like, speaking ill of someone who can be identified to others, talking about work, talking about my husband or kids in too much detail (so that they could be identified to a casual reader). I also abandon when I have forgotten my point or am failing to make one. I've never thought about it like this before...

Knight of Nothing said...

Thanks for stopping by Andrea! You are the "fine purveyor of balms" and such, correct? I've always loved that subtitle.

Those are good rules. At the beginning, I had a similar rule - never refer to anyone I know personally by name. It's been more of a guideline in recent months, but I think if I looked I'd see that I've pretty much kept it, with the exception of those folks who have an online presence in which they use their proper name.