You are my essay’s first draft

When you have a day that is as disjointed as mine – spending hours on public transit interspersed with hours sitting in a cubicle and snarfing meals/coffee – and you are at heart a writer as I am, then you’ve got to find some creative ways to get those first drafts down and keep your words marching day by day to something you are proud of.

One way to do that is to make your writing as communal (social?) as possible. A publicly distributed notebook can be a valuable source of inspiration. We’ve long known that, as blogging has been the dumping spot of writers looking to keep their juices flowing. Many bloggers eventually turn a series of their best posts into a book.

Unfortunately many of those books are a poorly edited mish-mosh but that’s something to discuss in a future post.

But don’t many of the best ideas start out much more targeted? Inspired by an interaction with a single person?

I’m one those people you probably roll your eyes at who fairly often writes a multi-page email. Email doesn’t actually have pages but you can still spot those multi-pagers when you see them. They are looong. And they may not seem well-edited.

But email is drafty, we all know that. It’s not optimized for quality or longevity. Just like blogs, which are bloggy.

I embrace the draft. That long email you just got from me – it is likely to soon form the basis for an awesome blog post or essay. And that idea we shared is probably going to rewrite and refine itself over the years until it eventually turns into the piece of writing that we both probably wish I had managed to write instead of that long and drafty email.

Sorry you had to be my first draft. You were a big help.



Ever wanted to start a digital diary but just couldn’t keep it going? OhLife will prompt you every day with a helpful email. Just started checking it out myself so we’ll see how well it works. One nice bit about it is that if the company goes belly-up in a year you won’t lose all your diary entries since they will still all be available in your sent email folder.