The White Noise of Revising and Editing ~#SOL 7/31 2021

I cringe when I reread past blog posts. In just rereading yesterday’s entry on delights, I was halted when I noticed I’d used “in which” in the SAME stinkin’ sentence! How is it that my eyes couldn’t catch that the first time through? I have so many blind spots that my blind spots have blind spots.

My energy spikes in the story catching and drafting stages of writing. If I could just reside in this part of writing forever, I would be in enchanted waters from here on out. There is a perpetual bliss, a euphoria, a heightened sense of groundedness and connection with all things alive in the universe. It’s what keeps bringing me back to my notebook each day.

You know what I despise?

Choosing. Revising. Editing. Publishing.

After I hit publish each day, a residual white noise of rambling “did you’s” follow me around all day, taunting me like a playground bully.

Did you choose a topic that anyone even cares about? I don’t know. I honestly don’t. After I write something, sometimes even I don’t care about it. “Fer dumb”, I hear a voice say. My mother used to say this when my dad would get mad about stupid stuff. “You were going to write all your posts about rituals and here you are writing about mistakes!” I hear. Oh well. . . I derail. Fail again.

Did you make sure you revised any episodes of your ego trying to portray itself? Erase all evidence of this face. This includes: victim, martyr, preacher, prosecutor, politician, narcisist, self-righteousness, savior, super-hero, know-it-all, and especially, white privledge.

These are big revisions – sometimes an entire post gets dumped if I catch myself talking in these voices, ego is tricky. A prior post in which (there’s the “in which” again) notebooks are the center of my writing feels privledged. I mean, only those with a pillowed life can have time to wrestle about the texture and size of the notebook they write in. People have bigger things in life to worry about – how to pay bills, find a job, or overcome grief. And, I whine about notebooks? It bothers me and I hesitate to share these kind of discomforts with the world. Some would say, “Wake up.” or “Get a life.”

And, Madame know-it-all loves to linger in the background of my words. In my PhD program, we were taught to write with authority. Authority? Yeah – you have to write like you know what you’re talking about. Even though, I honestly believe that the more I know, the less I realize I really know. What really do we know for sure? What works one day might not work the next. New research keeps debunking the old research.

We are all just bozos on the bus hanging on for the ride. Elizabeth Lesser wrote that in a book I read. Which brings me to:

Did you check for plagiarism? Heaven knows nothing is your idea, you know. Give credit to where credit is due. You are not the inventor of some of these beautiful phrases of which you key into these posts. But, some of them, I’m not sure where they even came from anymore. So, there’s that, too.

Did you make sure you did a clean editing sweep? Editing is laborious. But, I do know some of my repetitive faults and when you know what you are not good at, your lens for this refines. Verb tense ranks at #1. I’ll write in past tense and present tense in the same dang sentence and you know what? It sounds good to my ears. I won’t see it until the next day. Repetitive words is #2. I have my favs. I really should write them all out and just go through the list at the end of a post: in which, angst, for Pete’s sake. Spelling is #3. Actually,  it would be #1, but spell check catches half of my errors. I inherited my spelling gene from my father. I’m sure there are more, but they are still blind spots there, too.

All this resistance can keep one from ever sharing anything with the world.

Maybe this post should preface all my posts so the reader has more empathy for me. Writing for the world is hard. It puts us out there for persecution. Such bravery it takes. I love the safe place of my notebook, but it’s this kind of publishing that I need more practice at. We make our students share their writing with us ALL. THE. TIME. Do we ever consider how brave that is?

There it is: Kids are braver that we are. Perhaps it’s because they have less to be afraid of.

But, what do I know. . .

I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.

“Teachers who practice their subject – who think about them in their own time – can show students a way of life.” ~Diana Senechal

5 thoughts on “The White Noise of Revising and Editing ~#SOL 7/31 2021

  1. It is hard to commit to showing up, complete with our mistakes and blind spots. And yet, here we are, offering one piece after another. Although we haven’t yet met, allow me to be so familiar and say, ‘You’re doing great!’ Every time you take the risk, overcome your reservations, or cringe in the aftermath – you become more of who you are as a writer, educator, human. I, for one, am absolutely here for it!

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  2. You have a little critic on your shoulder, like we all do. While all the critic says might be true when you are writing a dissertation or short stories or newspaper articles, for SOLSC you are allowed to shush the critic. The slices need the “I” because they are about your life, emotions and thoughts. Since we write daily, mistakes are forgiven, the slices are more like good drafts rather than multiple timed polished texts. I enjoyed reading this reflection. Your voice is strong and you come to a very good conclusion that writing takes bravery.

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  3. I love the reflection, honesty and vulnerability shared here about your process of writing. It reminds me of conversations I would have with my writing project friends and colleagues. Glad you are publishing!

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  4. Thanks for sharing. One thing I love about the SoL Challenge is that we post everyday. For me, that takes some of the pressure off. If today’s post isn’t great, maybe tomorrow’s will be. I heard that Ray Bradbury once said, ” If you can write one short story a week—it doesn’t matter what the quality is to start, but at least you’re practicing, and at the end of the year you have 52 short stories, and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. Can’t be done.”

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  5. Thanks for sharing this post. Like Kathleen said in an earlier comment, it’s honest and vulnerable, and those are oftentimes hard things to be. Like so many of us trying to (getting to) write an entertaining nugget of goodness each day, I struggle like you do with many of the same things. I have my own list of repetitive words, and I’m not sure I could write a narrative if I wasn’t allowed use parenthetical statements or em-dashes. My blog has around 150 narratives on it, and I’m waiting for the day when I realize I’ve written the same story twice. All that said, I’m glad you write–thank you for that!

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