Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What advice would you give to bloggers who are inclined to return to their published blogs to edit them for grammatical errors or remove embarrassing info?

I would council against both impulses.

Regarding the most important part of the question--the second part--you initially wrote that "embarrassing" info for a reason. And even though the Internet is not permanent in any sense, you should honor the original impulse behind why the statement in question was created. To go back and edit yourself later calls into question the reason for the writing in the first place.

(I also don't think you should go back and rip pages out of diaries or journals or notebooks. I have written embarrassing things in the past and they are still in existence in pages. I just do my best to keep them out of the reach of my children, who aren't at an age to understand it--or even need to understand it. And it is instructive to me to go back now and then and say hello to that former self, to read what he was thinking and gain some perspective on what has been going on in my life since then.)

Now, as to the question of correcting grammatical errors . . . that's probably not a big deal. Certainly, I am guilty of many, many such mistakes. And in my daily work, it is something of my job to avoid letting such things become part of the final product. But that is in a final product that is being sold for profit and (therefore) demands a higher standard of quality than a personal blog that I write, that no one has to read, and is being thrown out there for free.

Of course, when I describe my electronic writings in such a way, it's no wonder I've been writing for over five years with no noticeable increase in viewership. But I guess I'm a bit too honest about the quality of what I'm doing. I'm NOT producing something for sale or for any REAL permanence. It is a collection of momentary thoughts that are thrown together in between kids baths, meals, TV shows, and any other time that I have fifteen minutes to spare and feel an urge to be creative.

Such are the quotidian impulses of my blogging lifestyle. But it IS the honest truth.

If you aspire to make something out of your blog; to make it something that has lasting, permanent value. If you want it to be useful, then maybe you can go back and edit your past.

But, if you do that . . . then you're no better than George Lucas.

Anyway, there is my answer.

Thanks for asking.


Sven Golly said...

Contrarian response: You assume that the purpose of blogging is to express immediate emotional state, not a reasoned, reflective line of thinking; that a first draft is the best, clearest, most authentic expression of one's thoughts; that making corrections distorts the Truth; that a published blog is the same as a private journal; that making a profit on a published work is the only valid measure of whether it's worth editing, revising, and polishing before publication.

Give me a break.

David said...

I am not trying to convince anyone that my way of blogging is the best way to go about it. I was simply explaining the thoughts behind how I do it. It is am admitted limitation of mine that I sometimes get fixated on the fictional scenario of publication. That is something that I need to just need to quit dreaming about.

Certainly your own method of blogging demonstrates a careful and thoughtful way of writing. And it is a good way for you. I just tend to present my thoughts in a more rapid, less polished manner. But I will try not to suggest that it is better. I'll tell my inner Palin to shut up about some sort of emotional authenticity that isn't a convincing argument for anyone.

You could say that I Stand Corrected.