Unpolished writing in the open notebook

Steve Crocker, Internet Request for Comments 3, from 1969: "There is a natural hesitancy to publish something unpolished, and we hope to ease this inhibition."

From time to time, someone reads Vacuum and comments that the writing looks unpolished and incomplete. Why would you publish this kind of work, which obviously isn't up to the standards that would let you sell it to someone for use in print? Why wouldn't you hide it in your notebooks?

I'm using this weblog as a notebook, and publishing my notes for myself instead of always as a tightly edited, polished, finished work. By exposing this part of a process I hope to be prepared to find some way to make myself understood, even if I don't completely understand myself immediately as I write through an issue or question. Thoughts go in, get refined as far as they need to be to make them coherent, and then go onto the net and into the world so that there's room for the next piece to emerge.

The open notebook is going to be messy, but it also means that I have some hope of finding my own half-finished work and revisiting it years later; when I don't do that, there's always something lost. Writing this way lets me tune into ideas, spin them around for a bit until I have a clearer focus, and move on. In most cases, I'm not ready to make things shiny and neat, and I'm content to explore facets of an unpolished gem over a series of years.

Previously, because I put it out there in first draft format so that I could find it again: make the first version coherent (from 2011);  creativity vs productivity (from 2008); on shitty first drafts (from 2007); wishing that my weblog looked more like my quadrille notebooks (from 2004).


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