I wrote Heroes a week prior to hitting the Publish button. My writing ritual consists of writing a quick draft, a post in bullet points. From those half-shaped sentences, I mold paragraphs until it gives life to something I feel comfortable publishing. More so than not, I don’t look back. On the Heroes comment thread, Catharine:
“Hmmm….I feel like I’m reading your notes and the post is yet to follow……”
My initial reaction was one of indignation, nothing less than resentment. A wounded ego is a misguiding ally, and backed up by its ill-advised counseling, I answered something along the same line as:
“Bark bark, woof woof, growl growl.”
And left it at that. I sat angry, informed my wife, and updated Facebook with the same vehemence. I was offended and outraged. I saddled the most ferocious horse in my stable, mounted the beast as high as I could so that all would witness my fury, declared war on the perpetrator and set out on the path of war. It was a sad spectacle. I quickly fell off my high horse, and ended up cleaning the stables.
I backtracked—I erased my tirade, drafted a temperate comment, posted the updated reply, and sent an apologetic email to Catharine. She was right, Heroes felt embryonic, and whatever she might have meant by her comment pierced my ego because it was incomplete.
“Write like you mean it”, and not because you need to publish a post on Thursdays. Sit down at your desk, at the coffee shop, with your laptop, your pen and paper, and write. Let the ink flow and the QWERTY click under your fingertips, and write because you have something to say. I wrote Heroes with unfinished sentences to cover my Friday slot, and moved on to the next post without ever looking back. That’s not writing the internet.
Despite one’s best intentions whilst channeling Hemingway himself, one can still produce a dud. I would rather deliberately offer a mediocre post than fool myself into thinking that an unfinished work is worth publishing. Humility is a writer’s best friend. Thank you for the reminder, Catharine.
Featured image by Bill Friday, and used with his expressed consent.