Belabored writing is better writing?

August 19, 2012, 10:58 am

I have been half-heartedly working on a manuscript for a book chapter. It’s a chapter that I am perfectly qualified to write and I have things to say, and yet for some reason I have been entirely uninspired and have been procrastinating for quite some time. Finally I just started slogging through it, until I had something that looked like enough of a rough draft to send to Co-author. Co-author added some bits and made some edits and sent it back, and I reluctantly sat down with it again. To my surprise, Co-author didn’t really change much of my writing. And I am realizing that it isn’t really that bad. It’s quite serviceable, actually. It is just not easy going with the writing.

Spouse and I were commiserating about this phenomenon, and he added that when he really struggles with writing something, when it comes really slowly and it feels like everything you are writing is crap, his co-authors don’t edit much and say it looks great. But when something flows smoothly and inspiredly (is that a word?) from the beginning and he’s really proud of it, they make so many changes that it’s barely recognizable as the same piece.

Hmmm. I feel like there is a lesson here.

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