Do You Prefer The 1st or 198th Draft?
Sometimes the children ask me for help writing essays and I tell them to just write.
If they press me for more help I tell them to remember to include a beginning, middle and end.
“But dad, that is not helping me.”
“It is, take the thoughts from your head and put them on paper. Your teachers want to hear your voice, not mine.”
Do You Prefer The 1st or 198th Draft?
I like to believe I am a decent writer and a decent editor.
I attribute most of that to a willingness to producing and consuming enormous amounts of content.
The Shmata Queen says it is because I was born to write and that I have a natural talent for arranging the puzzle pieces we call words into something people want to read.
Have I ever mentioned how many discussions about natural talent I have participated in?
They always circle around how far natural talent can take us compared to our desire to learn/improve and our willingness to work hard.
Ask professional writers for advice on how to improve your skills as a writer and most seem to include editing and rewriting as being among the most important things you can do to make your postsÂ pop.
Ask me for advice about blogging and I may ask you if you prefer the first or the 198th draft.
I prefer posts that are raw and authentic.
Give me the ones where the author/writer puts down their real thoughts and feelings and not those that are sanitized of voice, opinion and grammatical errors.
That is not say I am interested in reading something that is riddled with mistakes. If you say the point is mute I’ll roll my eyes at you and wonder if you are clueless and silently pray I never make a mistake that makes me look like an idiot.
If I am going to look like an idiot at least let me look like a literate one.
Did I mention I rarely edit my posts?
The blog is supposed to serve as a chronicle of life and offer snapshots in time. That works better when I don’t spend all of my time polishing the posts.
Or maybe a better way to describe it is to ask you to think about the person whose Facebook page is filled with the sort of status updates that make them appear to live in the land of rainbows and unicorns.
I hate those because they are fake.
Sometimes the hunter kills the unicorn and you don’t get the rainbow because the rain keeps falling.
There Is A Difference Between Best & Most Popular
I like thinking about mucking about and thinking about these things.
Sometimes I like reading posts about the difference between best and most popular so I can see if my thoughts have evolved or if I still feel the same.
Blogging is a funny beast because you never know what is going to resonate with people and what won’t.
I had thoughtÂ Some Things Iâ€™ll Teach My Children- 2015 EditionÂ would prick some interest and generate a discussion because in the past it had, but this time there were crickets.
Maybe I should have spent more time working on the headline or done more to market it.
Perhaps the drop in response is due to time of year, my lack of commenting on other blogs or something else entirely.
That could explain why part of me felt the need to look at 18 months of Google Analytics to see what the data had to say about it all.
Or maybe I am excited about the grand adventure I hinted at inÂ How Blogging Helps Turn Dreams Into Reality.
There is a certain energy and maybe some anxiety that comes from standing above the waterfall and knowing the only way down is to jump.
Life And Rough Drafts
The children ask me if you get a rough draft in life or is it a one shot deal.
It is the sort of question that doesn’t have a black and white answer. No one knows how much time they get
No one knows how much time they get so you can’t live life as if it is endless but you can’t really go 180 degrees away from that either.
You are always straddling the damn seesaw and bending one direction or another while trying to find the myth called balance.
They ask me how that attitude will impact the meeting I’ll have in a few days and what I’ll do.
I tell them that the prior drafts of old Jack Steiner will participate in this meeting and that they’ll help guide some of my decision-making but that what excites me is the chance to get a blank page to write upon.
When they ask me to explain moreÂ I tell them to watch this clip.
“Dad, what are you trying to tell us?”
“If we are lucky we figure out what we are passionate about and we go after it. We find something we love to do and we chase perfection and do what we can to become better at it. Because we love it, we don’t consider it to be work.”
They don’t know how to ask if this is intuition or desire and I don’t think to present it as part of the conversation but if they did I would have an answer.
I’d tell them I hear music and I feel something that I have to follow. I’d tell them my gut tells me this could be life changing for everyone, but in a positive way and that I can’t ignore it.
Better to wander over hill and dale to find out what lies over yonder so that I know than to wonder.
That is the kind of father I want to be.
The one who pushes the blend of practical living mixed with doing what we can to live our dreams.
I don’t know how many drafts we get or don’t get. I just know how to keep typing.