Friday, 1 June 2012

I'd rather be happy than timely

Well, here I am again, apologising for not having a story that I wanted to publish.

Last time I did this was Anzac Day.  On that occasion I had grandiose ideas about honour and occasion and ceremony and it just didn't work.  Instead I talked about my Pa, and that worked.

Today I wanted to tell a story about work finances and politics and the public service.  It was a great little story, and I was really happy with how I wrote it, but self-preservation dictated that it get ditched.  It revealed too much and, even though I'm pretty sure nobody from work reads this stuff, it would have been too big a risk to put that one out there.  That story will never see the light of day, because I value my pay-check.

My second-string story was a critique of the quality of contemporary political discourse in the context of the Abbott/gay/boats story.  Seriously, this is what's on the front page now?  The fact that ALP staff are so threatened by the leader of the opposition that they find it necessary to make graphical ad hominem attacks in the safety of their own workplaces?  But the story didn't really work either, and that went down the tubes too.

So I guess I'm here to write about the value of being self-critical.

When you're writing, and trying to adhere to some standards, you have to get tough on yourself.  If I was earning money by the word (like Hugo) I wouldn't have had any qualms about putting up either or both of the stories I'd conceived or written.  But this blog generates no income, and I'm aiming for quality and trying to adhere to some personal principles here (as well as trying to make sure I can keep paying my mortgage).  So, if I'm unhappy with publishing something, whether it be for personal or principled reasons, it doesn't get published.

There's something to be said for applying this approach when using e-mail, or even posting Facebook statuses.  I greatly value the discipline of writing something, saving it in draft, walking away for a few hours and then re-reading it, just to be sure it says what I mean, or feel.  If it doesn't, it either gets revised or ditched.

A thought can be momentary, but consigning something to the internets is forever.


  1. Glenn, I agree massively with your final statement. One of the things that truly frustrates me about how people use Facebook is the posting of ill-advised status updates. Especially ones that people go back and delete. If you weren't going to be happy for it to be there, don't post it in the first place.

    Unless there's a spelling/grammar error. Fix that sh!t.

  2. Thanks Sarah, glad you noticed! Of course, several years working in one of the most risk-averse workplaces in the country certainly helps one to be circumspect about hitting "enter", even under the jolliest of circumstances! Thanks also for reading!


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