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Friday Feels: The trouble with growing in the open
Why I can't edit my work
I go through periods where I struggle to write but not to speak or think, and I’m trying to understand why. I need to write, but when I can’t write it’s because I’m worried about being read. My struggle is rooted in being perceived, but why?
I start to write, but instead of letting the words flow, I edit myself. What is your point? What is the purpose of this paragraph? What are you about to say? When I do this, nothing gets written. I went back through my private journals from 2017, searching for the word “edit” and found evidence that supports my feelings about editing.
I don’t care for polishing. I want things raw, as they are created. I love the pre-crystallization of a thought because once it’s formed it has harsh edges that are too easily broken. I love the learning stage of just about everything. The ugly unknown, shaky assertions, and malformed questions. In our derivative world, raw thoughts are the closest we can get to purity.
Editing feels like adulterating my thoughts as they came in. If I refine my thoughts, I’ll write something else.
And if my thoughts seem fluid it’s because they are. Who thinks linearly? i certainly don’t. I can, but linearity stifles me when I’m feeling something. I love letting my feelings guide my writing. I love reading authors who do the same. I want to feel what you feel and let that lead me to what you think. When we connect I want it to be on a wave, not in a box.
When it comes to connecting with another person, I want to be perceived as I am, untamed and in flux, and what is writing but recording thoughts in hopes of them reaching another person just as they are. I don’t want you to prepare yourself to receive what I have to say. I’d rather we meet each other right where we are.
Most people who you see making “content” (whatever the fuck that is) today do so in the open. In doing this, you’re letting people see you grow and learn. Imposter syndrome has to take a back seat to hit Publish. No matter how much editing you do, you could do more
Since I’ve started growing in the open, I’ve realized that I don’t edit when I’m alone because new bits develop where old bits have rotted (It was Emerson’s essay on Strangers, not Thoreau). By the time I get this sentence down, I’m already a different person.
I publish because I want to grow in the open. If I just tell myself that I’m documenting for me and only me, the struggle is lessened. I write to grow, to learn, to understand, and I publish to leave some breadcrumbs for anyone who wants to do the same. The burden to make it make sense to you feels significant, but it is your burden. I’ll do my best to make it clear, but I have to do what I have to do - write.
I’m hosting an event next Saturday for my paid subscribers where we’ll play a game that reviews what we’ve been reading: Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper. I’d love to see you there.