Sunday, June 25, 2006

Publication Procrastination

Hello all,

I just recently joined Food Blog S’cool after lurking for a while. As a brand new food blogger with a two-month old baby blog, I just want to say that I’ve learned so much from all of you here. Thank you!

I don’t really consider myself a good writer, but I am the empress queen of re-writing. I cannot just write a post and publish it. I reread it and edit it, and read it again and tweak it, ad infinitum. Then I wait a day before reading it again and discovering it needs more editing. I tell myself that it will be ready to publish when I can read it without making any changes, which never happens.

Sometimes it takes weeks, and 40 – 50 edits before I consider a post ready to publish. When I compare my final version to my first draft, the ultimate version is infinitely better, so I am reluctant to give up this obsessive method of rewriting.

Does anyone else suffer from this plague of publication procrastination? How do you deal with it?

BTW, I edited this post only four times. :)

This Post was written by Lydia from Kitchen Exhibitionist


Andrew said...

Good grief woman NO NO NO - I am off the blog and go variety... like that shampoo only my blogs dont smell...

effective use of the google toolbar spell checker is a must though...

mostlymartha said...

In my "real" writing, I am an editing fiend. I mean, I went to college and got a degree in writing, so I basically spent four year doing second and third and thirteenth and forty-seventh drafts. Tejal (my partner in blog) is the same way. When we started our site, it took us forever to get any content up. We just couldn't bear to expose those ugly, unfinished things to the world. Alas, that was stressful for us and boring for our readers.

Do I sometimes cringe at the unwieldy sentences and messy metaphors in older entries? Do I occasionally go back and make little changes after I've posted. Sure. Still, I think, with this blogging thing, you've just got to let it happen. It gets easier. It isn't life or death, it isn't an opus. It's supposed to be fun and casual; your readers expect that. If you're editing and stressing and rewriting and being anxious, you're probably doing yourself a disservice.

nika said...

I agree with the above but you have to do this your own way.

I would suggest tho that perhaps you can make another less-stress-focused blog where you can practice blogging without guilt.. because otherwise your procrastination will turn into a serious case of block.

It is better to get it out there with a 1 or 2 pass scheme on a daily basis than to put it off.. thats more of a website mentality versus blogging.

I am willing to bet that your readers are more interested in your voice than your editing.

Blogging is ALL about voice.

William Conway said...

Well I'm not totally neurotic, but I do have a post-publish session of fiddling with my content. It's best to read my posts about an hour after they're published!

Still, I do try and get things out promptly. It sounds cheesy, but I've been doing this for over a year now and I've just recently started to find my "voice". It makes writing infinitely easier.

Ziz said...

Just a note to keep in mind that for people that subscribe to your blog, like with Bloglines, that post is going to show up as new every single time you make an edit (as long at is it still on the main page of your blog, I believe) so try to keep your readers in mind when editing an already published post. It can get to be a turn off when a blog shows up with the same exact post 10 times in a row. At that point, I take them off my subscription.

That being said -- everyone has their days where they make a few snafus and have to go back a few times to correct it. I don't think anyone can fault you for wanting to correct it. Just try to be thoughtful of your readers as well. :o)

Madeline said...

In my real life writing as a lawyer, I easily go through 20 drafts of something. For me, my blog is an escape from that. I try to write entries as if I am telling a friend about the topic. So, while I do proofread, spell check before posting, and make little edits that my friends tell me about after posting, I generally try to write it and post it soon thereafter.

Anonymous said...

At least you don't procrastinate about writing the post.

That can be far worse, as details fade away before you can get them typed. I have all my notes about a recent trip, but it's taking forever for me to get them into coherent sentences. Never mind editing the photos.

Perhaps good advice for both of us is to set a deadline and adhere to it. Not having a due date means it's never due. "Work expands to fill the time allotted for it."

Also keep in mind the medium of the blog - it's traditionally quick throw-away, short content. There's nothing wrong with well-crafted, long-form essays, but it's probably easier to adopt a weekly publishing schedule if that's going to be your stlye. Nobody should say you must be a prolific daily poster. The worst thing you can do is make blogging a chore.

Anonymous said...

I get one or two rounds of proof reading in before I publish something. That usually doesn't stop me from seeing making changes immediately after something's been published though.

Just know you'll probably never be 100% happy with anything you write and it should be easier to hit the publish button.

Guy said...

Dang, you're wrapped tighter than last week's newspaper. Not sure of the stability of your psyche, but if you're going to be in this for the long haul, you may want to just review it a few times. I'm up over a thousand posts and if I spent that much time on each post I'd be dead.
I say lighten up a bit and have some fun.


ps - Welcome!

Anonymous said...

Hah, I should've proofread my comment.

Rachael Narins said...

OH NO! Alicat, is that true? It shows up in Bloglines everytime I tweak? What about when I fix an old post, does that show up? Oh Heavens! In answer to Lydia's question, I tend to write everything in a word document and then post it. Its ineveitable that I go back and fix a few things, but typically, I try not to fiddle too much. That said, I just posted something like, nine times because I was feeling saucy, and now that I read what Alycat said, Im horrified! I will curb that behavior from now on, for sure!



Lydia said...

Thank you, all, for some very good points here.

I used to write for a web site, so thanks for reminding me that a blog is not a web site.

And I am still finding my voice, which may take a while.

I like the idea of setting a date for the post and sticking to it. That's a good solution for this anal writer. Yes Biggles, you have me pegged, but only when it comes to writing; I'm not like that about everything. :)

Rachael Narins said...

In answer to my own question, I found this link on how to prevent posts from showing up a zillion times on Bloglines (which I dont personally use, but think is nifty)

shuna fish lydon said...

Wow, what a great topic.

I, for one, think editing is important. I generally give up on learning about what someone's "voice" is if the writing reads as though they are merely speaking to me. I appreciate adjectives, grammar, poetic license, spell check and a lack of cliches.

But I agree with Biggles, try and free yourself up a bit. Blogging should indeed feel fun.

Also I think it's easier to prolong a post until it is ready for preview in TypePad more than it is in Blogger.

Chris said...

I'm very interested in all of these comments on voice. Nika is right -- blogging is all about voice. I recognize that finding and developing your own voice is illusive, but I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on how to work on "voice" in food blogging?

Ziz said...

great tip on how to change bloglines so a tweaked post doesn't show a bunch of times -- I had no idea! :o)

Not very many blogs I see show up more than a few times, which is completely understandable, people make little mistakes and that is cool with me.

I am glad to know that I can change my bloglines settings. I don't speak for the majority, but I would be willing to guess a lot of people with bloglines don't know that you can change the settings so a post doesn't show up frequently, so that may just be a little reminder in the back of your head to keep in mind those, like me, who didn't know. :o)

Andrea said...

In WordPress, I live by the Save function that allows you to keep a post in draft mode until you want to publish it. I start my posts sometimes a couple weeks ahead of time. I get an idea for a dish that I want to cook sometime soon and I go ahead and start the write up. It's a pretty organic process for me, with each post building over several days. Then once I fix the dish and photograph it, I publish. Of course, I inevitably find something to correct within an hour of sending it out into the world. ;-)