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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Writing as Product, not Process

I envision writing as a product, not a process. I think an over-emphasis on the process itself is damaging in that it prevents us from envisioning the final product that we are aiming for. I call this the translators fallacy: suppose the translator goes back and forth between the words "vertigo" and "dizziness" a half-dozen times, finally settling on "dizziness." The translator can write a beautiful essay explaining the process, but ultimately the reader of the translation only has the final result, one work of the other. It doesn't matter if a sentence is revised many times if the end-result is not better.

There should be, I feel, a base-line first-draft style that is serviceable and produced with some degree of fluency. Revisions of style might still be laborious, but they will make something good even better.

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