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Blogging - Essays or Streams of Consciousness?

It's been interesting being accepted into the Grand Rounds along with the big boys and girls. I happily share my pieces and then, when Tuesday rolls around, I re-read my submission and wince thinking, "I should have edited this better!"

The great majority of my writing here is stream of consciousness. I barely edit at all and having a gift for spelling and grammar, I don't have to do a lot of copyediting, either. Sometimes my fingers move faster than they should and a couple of typos slip through that I don't see until I re-read the piece the next day on the blog itself. I edit it then.

In school, I write essays. I take my stream of consciousness and edit the hell out of it. When I write articles, I remove the extraneous words, the silly repetitive phrases and even much of the hyperbole. My work, while still sounding like me, isn't as drama-filled or intense as my writing here.

My absolute favorite blogger-as-writer is a Psychiatrist who never fails to mesmerize me with her words. Her blog, Intueri: to contemplate, weaves stories of psychosis with touches of compassion and confusion. Her humor sparkles through the all-too-often frightening realities of mental illness in the United States. If she had a book, I'd be buying it and giving it to all of you. I pray some editor picks her up and publishes her.

I read my work and it is shit compared to Intueri's. Not just different, but just so not good. I aspire to improve though and wonder if I wrote in Word instead of in the blog itself, perhaps I would edit more and be happy with my work.

I wonder if I should edit some of the older pieces that could sound more professional and perhaps find a wider audience in the Grand Rounds community. What I don't want is the Grand Rounds readers to take one look at my pieces and roll their eyes and click out of the blog. I really want to be heard and perhaps being more professional in my writing could do that.

And then I know that my stream of consciousness is enjoyed by many, too. And I write for them, too. I laugh remembering my strange foray into writing fiction. It was like writing with my left (non-dominant) hand. Strange, difficult, almost painful. Writing non-fiction is easy, pleasant and amusing to me. Why would I try to write differently?

I wonder how other blog writers tend to these thoughts. Do you edit before putting your writing up on your blog? Or do you just write and write and hope it comes out coherently once you hit send.

Maybe I'll edit a little... and just keep writing more.

Always more.

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Reader Comments (6)

I also sort of a stream-of-consciousness, edit for typos and readability, but sometimes find more to edit the next day--or weeks later. I rarely work on something by saving it as a draft unless I don't have time and have an idea I don't want to lose, so put the idea in a draft and come back later when I can do the post.

I'm not a great blog-writer, and do much better on my papers for school. (And posts that became posts FROM papers are examples and are better written, as a result.)

I write for me, for fun, and submit posts to Grand Rounds that will suit the Grand Round's intended audience: NOT doctors and nurses and midwives, but the general public. GR is supposed to medical bloggers writing for a wider audience.

I KNOW what you mean about improving your writing; I am trying to do that. But don't change too much for GR. You have an established readership who love your writing and style.


P.S. You were already part of the group of "big boys and girls." If we are comparing--as a doula and student nurse I have MUCH less right to be in GR than YOU as a longtime midwife. So remember that you belong to the group in terms of professionalism, etc. But as far as being a part of the "group" you (and me, too) are different and less medical-minded--in a good way. Make sense?

Your words are too kind; I am humbled by your comments. Thank you. :)

My $0.02: Write for yourself. Don't compare your writing to that of others--sometimes, you'll write something brilliant and other times, not so much. The more you write, the more likely you will understand what it is you are trying to communicate vs. what you are actually communicating. Some people may like it; others may not. Your worth--writing or otherwise--is not determined by the praise (or lack thereof) you receive from others.

June 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Hannah: I have this funny thing about editing a piece later. I was thinking if I did that, I'd put the original up next to the edited one, but doesn't that defeat the purpose (unless you are the editor seeing if I could actually write in a more edited style)?

I love how you remind me that Grand Rounds is for the lay reader, not the docs and nurses who write the submissions. Thanks for pointing that out again.

Maria: YOU! You... such a writer! Thank you for sharing your words with us... such a gift!

While I have been writing for 40 of my 44 years, there are times when my words flow and the meaning materializes after the ink dries (or the SEND is hit). It's part of what I love about writing... how I think I know so much about myself and how I feel, yet once in awhile, I am stunned by the things I really believe and the thoughts that reside deep inside my heart.

I can't not write. To not write is to die.

And I'm not ready to die.

June 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Ah, I meant that when I "edit" weeks later it's finding a typo I missed. I don't change/add/delete to change the post at all. Just an an "r" to "you" that should've been "your", etc.

Hh :)

Nobody writes better than you, dear Barb.. we just write differently. We're coming from a different place with different history and means of expression. I love the way you write here, and hope that you don't start editing yourself and sterilizing your words. It's the hyperbole and rambling and FEELING in your entries that remind me that you, too, are human. It's so easy sometimes to remove a person from their profession (particularly when that profession is in the medical field) and forget that they have a point of view, feelings, and personal insight. Your blog keeps me in check that way.

June 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterShylah

Thank you, Shylah!

Love you, too, sweet woman.

July 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

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