Mo Bloggin'

A little o' this, a little o' that

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Editing vs. writing

So which is it?  I do both for a living, though not enough of either.  (2009 goal: get more clients/write more).  This blog was created as a way to keep myself writing , though I’ve been falling down a bit there.  The block I didn’t quite anticipate (but should have) is my “self edit” button, a.k.a. the monkey mind.  I rationalize by telling myself that if I didn’t stop myself, the blog would just be a series of rants (and it already has some of that going on).  Ranting about work/job, about how stupid people are about recycling, j0289199about how people seem willfully ignorant about climate change and their part in it (I can not believe how many people burn leaves and yard waste in this little town!  It’s an outrage–smoky-ass fires of wet vegetation that blanket the whole valley in smoke.), about asinine veterinarians who have no respect for knowledgeable pet owners who don’t believe in using a mallet when a finish hammer will do, about politics, about…well, you get the idea.  I stop myself because who wants to read all that?  I mean even if you agreed with me (and I don’t know how any rationally-minded person wouldn’t), there’s no use adding to the planet’s negative energy with a printed “spew.”

So, no ranting. Got it.  Now what do I write about?  Butterflies and flowers?  A j0091157little more compelling, hopefully.  I could blog daily about critters, about puttering around in the front garden at dusk, the dogs meandering with me, the cat twining under their chins as they sniff, and a couple of hens pecking around them–a golden moment, about the dogs’ antics and how happy they make me, or their health issues (and issues with trying to find decent medical care for them), and may create a blog just so I can indulge myself that way.  I wanted to keep this blog a little broader than that, as well as keeping a continuum of sorts.  And this is where monkey mind really shines.  Everything’s got to be frickin’ Shakespeare before I can hit the “publish” key. 

Of course I exaggerate, but the perfectionism issue can’t be avoided.  It would be so easy to jot off something disjointed, a series of random thoughts threaded together.  At least you’d think it would be.  Not for monkey mind, basking in her own brilliance and censoring anything that doesn’t sound FABulous (in her mind–I don’t pretend that my blog posts are high literature by any means).  I do find, however, that this perfectionism hobbles me.  Heck, I can’t even post to my Twitter account with any regularity–you only get 140 characters, but it has to be a profound 140 characters–but that’s a whole ‘nother issue (primarily that I really don’t get the point of Twitter, or don’t see it’s usefulness…yet?  And why are all these people following me?  Is that really Hugh Jackman posting?)

Which brings me to the editing part.  I really like reading good writing, and seeing a piece cleaned up and full of zinging sentences that give you great visuals and paint a full picture.  At the very least, let’s get the punctuation and grammar and spelling on track.  I went to an editors conference last month and it made me realize how I enjoy this and how I want to do more of it.  More of both really.  It was invigorating to be around others with like minds, who count a dictionary and a style guide as their most useful tools, sharing tips for marketing, working with clients, and navigating in Word’s Review tool. 

In short, the desire is there, in both courts.  And monkey mind does serve a purpose, ultimately.  I simply have to override a bit more instead of just getting in the back seat.  Thanks, monkey, I’ll take the wheel.


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