Friday, January 25, 2019

"How 'Writing' Interferes With My Idea Of Writing A Blog"

The way to “connect” is to be as natural – Read:  “as genuine” – as possible.

At least that’s what I think.

To do so in blog writing, I “simulate talk”:  The written approximation of one person – me – talking to another person, which would be you.

A “stenographized podcast”, if you will.

The thing is, for me at least, once the element of “written” enters the mix, the finished product becomes different.  Suddenly, I am not “a guy talking on paper”, or in this case, cyber-paper.

I am, it feels like, recognizably, a “wri-tor.”

Obligated to say things in “wri-tor-ly” fashion.  

Which makes my blog posts inevitably expand.

Feel like some tangible evidence?  I’ve got some.

Over the years, I have written…a boatload of posts.  And during the rewrite process – involving numerous rewrites – the published versions of those posts are invariably longer than their original drafts.

Which, to a professional sitcom writer, seems odd.

In my career preparing half-hour comedy scripts for production, our final draft “Shooting Scripts” would get “tighter” and “sharper”, and hopefully funnier.  They were also invariably shorter.

Not here.

Here, they get longer.

The primary reason for that:

“Wri-tor-ly writing.”

Interesting Side-Note (which, by the way also makes posts longer:  When immersed in a “Book-On-CD”, I am powerfully influenced by the “wri-tor-ly writing” of the book I am listening to.  Patrick O’Brien’s Master and Commander series, with its detailed description of ships’ “staincl’s” and “tergalents”, subtly permeates my approach.  Suddenly, I’m going on endlessly about “multi-camera” filming versus “videotape.”  End of “Interesting Side-Note”… which I picked up from listening to Eddie Izzard’s autobiography.

It’s not just the modifiers – those insidious adverbs and adjectives Mark Twain specifically warned us about – he’d be unhappy about “specifically” – it’s just, generally, instead of saying things simply and directly, I’m verbally “over-decorating the room.”

Here’s a fabricated example of making things longer for no purposeful reason.  (Other than not appearing to “write lazy.”)

I once mentioned how I personally “made a difference in this world” by writing a local traffic department, suggesting how to reduce the maddeningly logjam at the freeway entrance close to our house.  And they actually responded.  Not the solution I suggested, but it did exactly the same thing.

Succumbing to temptation – as one succumbs to an available donut – I can easily see myself, during a rewrite process, changing “… it did exactly the same thing” to “… the ultimate outcome was virtually identical.”

I know that’s the same number of words – making it an imperfect example – but look at the unneeded “flourishiness.” 

That’s not “talking.”  At least, it’s not me talking.  That’s me, abducted by lengthening “wri-tor-liness.”  (I originally wrote “seduced” but I got embarrassed.)

My goal, moving forward, is to stay true to “Stylistic Intention.”  An encouraging signal in yesterday’s post:

First Draft:  697 words.

Second Draft:  674 words.

Third Draft:  654 words.

Fourth  Draft:  644 words.

Fifth Draft:  638 words.

Sixth Draft:  623 words.

That’s, ladies and gentlemen, is a “First!”

A “Just Thinking” blog post, getting progressively shorter.

Let’s see how I do today, as that could possibly have been a fluke.


Having covered the “What?” of this eleven-plus-year exercise and looked at the challenges of the “How?”,  a brief comment concerning the “Why?”, as in,

“Why do you do this?”

Simply put:

I love writing this blog. 

And I will do it until I don’t.

The End.

Or, more accurately,

To be continued…

Original Draft:  694 words.

Published Draft:  579 words.

Take that, “Ingrained Conditioning”!

By the way, “shorter” does not at all mean faster.  (As I have just discovered.)

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