Getting it right.

I'm not sure how long I worked on that last paragraph of the main page of this column, but it must have gone through at least twelve revisions - moving part of a sentence from the beginning to the end, changing a couple of words here and there, deleting a whole sentence and adding another, and quite a bit more. I thought I knew what I wanted to express when I first wrote it, but leaving it alone and returning to it after a couple of days allowed me to ask myself if what was one the screen was really the thought I wanted to express - and to discover that no, it wasn't. Even now I'm not fully convinced that what's written is what I wanted to say, or whether it couldn't have been written in a clearer and more concise manner, but it's certainly closer to what I want than the first version.

Is doing this really that difficult? Should it really demand so much time? I suppose that better writers would be able to more readily edit themselves, and suffer less in the process. But though I reread and edit my blog posts, they reach a finished state with much less sweat. When I blog about a particular issue I attempt to publicly explain my take on that issue. My main worries are whether I've clearly defined the issue (and whether I've distinguished my take on it from the definition) and then whether I've expressed my opinion clearly (and hopefully convincingly). Essentially, I write to an audience. What I write to a Boidem column may reach an audience, but it's first and foremost a clarification to myself, and that clarifying is inevitably comprised of an internal argument, a taking of numerous sides, a stepping into a dressing room with a number of attitudes on hangers in order to try them on to see which of them fits best. Though the topic under discussion is usually a public issue, my examination of that topic in the Boidem is primarily internal, an attempt to allow the various voices that comprise my "understanding" of the topic to make themselves heard - both in dissonance and harmony. Setting out my opinion toward something in the blog is rather easy. The hard part is trying to go beyond opinion to actually grasp, even if only fleetingly, my own ever-fluctuating understanding of that topic. And hopefully that's what happens in the Boidem.

Go to: In one tenth the time