To Draft Or Not To Draft

I wrote my first nine posts for #100DaysToOffload in one day without starting from a draft. Many bloggers leverage a well stocked drafts folder, and the really rich ones might be sitting on 30 post drafts and ideas!

I also have a folder full of partially written posts, and you would think I’d leverage that to get me through this nerdy take on Century Club. But that’s not how I’ve been doing it.

Most days I wake up not knowing what I’ll write about and wait for inspiration to strike. And then it’s a mad dash to get it fleshed out, prettied up, slimmed down, and finally published.

The Idea Folder

The idea folder doesn’t work for me.

When I look at my pile of ideas, I don’t perceive anything like the energy I got when I wrote them down. Even though each was a good blog post in my mind back then, I no longer see them that way at a later date.

The few times I tried to take an idea from the pile and make it blossom into a full post, it was an agonizing process. It seems I couldn’t rekindle with the original flame of the idea and labored to bring it back to life.

The problem is that writing is inspiration, and you can write an idea down but you can’t preserve the inspiration in a notebook.

Also, writing, to any degree, is a release for that moment of inspiration. Once you’ve written it down, even in part, it’s been consumed in some way.

The Never-Ending Draft

So writing ideas down doesn’t work, but what if I wrote more than an idea? What if I tried to capture the essence of the spark in imperfect written form? Then I could polish it up and publish when it’s ready. It seems that should work.

When I do this, I end up in an endless series of edits.

My inner perfectionist is a problem here. I know how I get when I try to do good work. It never ends. I’ll perpetually rethink the point I’m trying to make and then contemplate making this a series of posts instead of a one-off.

Then I’ll second-guess myself. I’ll lose my confidence in my idea and decide it’s trash, putting it on the backburner until I feel more ready to tackle it (never).

Drafts to me are like black holes: things only go in, nothing ever comes out.

Even during this series of daily posts I find myself reading and re-reading, tweaking sentences and trying to make it flow better. If it weren’t for bedtime and the need to write another one the next day, I’d still be on post number one when this pandemic ends.

Time Pressure

It all comes down to pressure, the need to get something out. It was my secret weapon in school. I always left essays to the last minute and knocked them out fast when I was low on time.

This is why #100DaysToOffload is working well for me: I can’t get ahead, so it forces me to write under pressure and it works out for me.

Each day I put my inner perfectionist in the corner, my ideas folder is out of sight, and I wait to catch a spark.

This was day 10 of the #100DaysToOffload challenge.

Olivier Forget

Los Angeles, USA
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Aerospace Engineer turned sofware developer and bootstrappin' entrepreneur.