the missing bridge

IMG_0155I’ve been trying to keep my computer issues out of my blog posts; but anyway, yesterday after I got my computer back, I went to Barnes and Noble, ordered a latte, and sat down to write a post. It had been a while (because of the computer issues).

I wanted to write about Anne Enright’s beautiful sentences, which I did, and her use of repetition in those sentences, which I did. I added a picture of her from the internet. Then I worried about copyright laws. I deleted the picture and added one of my own. I added the links I thought were pertinent. Found the article about the way she writes and added that as the opener. It reminded me of a post I’d read recently by Dani Shapiro. I added that link, read it over, and posted.

Great. Went to the grocery store and then home to cook dinner. Later, I pulled up the post to read it over again. Huge gap.

There was something missing between the beginning of the post and the end. What was missing was the part that had been in my head and that had linked the beginning to the end but had never made it to the page. I couldn’t see it at the time because I was too close to it. I took the next step and the bridge appeared. When I backed away, I could see that the bridge was not really there.

I added it and read it over, satisfied.

Just a few minutes ago, after I checked my email and checked in on Twitter, I reread the post again. In the second sentence I’d used a pronoun that could have been referring either to Shapiro or to Enright. Easy fix.

I’m not going to read the post over anymore.

Nevertheless, revising a post after it’s been up for a while makes me kind of crazy. I would like to be able to send an email to each person who had already read it:

Alert. The post you read has been changed. It makes sense now. How about taking another look ?

Thank goodness I can’t do that. It would be very annoying.

Perhaps I shouldn’t change anything once it’s up. Any thoughts on making revisions after you post?

 

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21 thoughts on “the missing bridge

    • Thanks, Barb. I think with blogging, that’s the goal.

      But years ago, when I was working in my father’s office, I handed him some photocopies. He pointed to a tiny mark and sent me to clean the glass on the copier and redo the copies. Ever since then, and possibly before as well, if I can make something better, I have to.

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  1. Obviously the original post made enough sense to prompt me to comment. 🙂

    I’ve corrected typos or punctuation after uploading a post, but only once did I change the wording, and that was within minutes.

    I did just find one of these missing bridges in my ms yesterday. I hadn’t read that section for a few weeks and when I did, I saw that I wasn’t giving the reader enough info to follow my character’s thought progression.

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    • Linda, I have to admit to changing the wording on a post on more than one occasion.

      I just had a thought–maybe it’s the fiction writer in me that must always step back and revise. Perhaps I should embrace this aspect of my blog posts. I could put a warning on my sidebar: Attention. Each post is a work in progress and is subject to being revised at any moment. Feel free to check back any time to see if changes have been made.

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  2. Pingback: Do you write what you see? « out of my mind

  3. I’m a chronic tinkerer. And I’m appalled at how often I find errors (typos, misspellings, grammatical faux pas) days after I post. I too want to send out an apology, plead my case, make up a crazy, explanatory lie. (I’m rather good at crazy, explanatory lies.)

    That said, I think Barb has it right. Unlike so much of writing, blogs offer the opportunity to put our thoughts out there, converse, engage, and then move onto the next topic. Like real conversation… “warts and all.”

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    • Judy, here’s why I really appreciate comments. The more I’m responding to them, the more my thoughts on this issue are becoming clearer.

      I do think you and Barb are right about posting with “warts and all” and moving on. There’s something inherently quick and immediate to blogs.

      Nevertheless, I don’t think I’ll ever not be able to “fix” a problem I see. So I’m just going to settle into that easy chair and get comfortable with that aspect of my posting.

      Thanks!

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  4. I think if people leave comments you can respond to them and let them know that the post has been changed. otherwise you just have to let it go and hope that people are catching the good version from now on.

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  5. When I had my very first workshop with Pam, we did the list exercise and mine was “items I have on my fireplace.” One of the things on my list was a stained glass candle holder that my roommate from college gave to me as she was first learning the art. She apologized as she handed it to me and said it had a lot of flaws, and I told her the flaws were what made it perfect. When I read my list in class on the last day, that was the sentence that made me break down in tears. And I stand by it. Perfection is unattainable anyway, and life is so much more fun when you let go of the need for it and just live. 🙂

    I know I love your blog and I come here all the time… even on the days when YOU think it’s not perfect. 🙂

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  6. Joseph, I was laughing so hard when I read your comment. I could just hear that little ping every time I changed something–the thought was scary. Nice to hear from you.

    I do agree with you and Linda, it would be nice if wordpress would allow us to preview a comment or gave us 15 minutes to change the comment (as on She Writes).

    Kim, if it’s worth mentioning a change, that’s exactly what I do. I’m surprised at how well I’ve been able to be satisfied that at least a post is how I want it now.

    Barb-I love that story. Flaws are so often what make something special and recognizable, and what show love. That perfection is unattainable anyway is a lesson the universe is trying to teach me over and over again in so many ways. Thanks!

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  7. I loved reading this. I actually inhaled deeply then exhaled slowly as I said aloud to the walls of my office, “I’m so relieved I’m not the only one.” Reading your post has given me a boost of much needed encouragement. As I’ve started my blog over the course of this past month I’ve found myself writing editing then deleting so many entries out of sheer terror that they aren’t good enough, or perfect enough, or that they’re too personal, or not personal enough, or whatever the case may be at the moment I pushed the delete button – I’ve felt a little nuts sometimes. Ah, I might as well admit it, I am a little neurotic 🙂
    Even as I write this comment my hands are shaking and my heart is pounding furiously in my chest with anxiety as I question myself, “Ah! Should I really say this? Maybe I won’t post this…” Here goes! ♥

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    • Rebecca-I’m so glad you clicked “submit.” And your comment makes me so glad that I clicked “publish.”

      The more you post, I think, the easier it gets. And as someone else commented, perfection doesn’t exist. I think my posts now are much better than they were at the beginning. And improving is almost as good as perfection. So post away!

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  8. After two cups of coffee, I still can’t see yet so forgive me if there is a typo in my comments. You have my full permission to edit my comments as you see fit. If wordpress allows.

    I have gone back and fixed typos from my posts made too early for me to see yet. Such as yesterday. It always stings the writer more than the reader. In fact, when I see my own errors out there for all the world to see, my heart nearly stops.

    Sometimes when I read a blog and there is a typo or a whole bridge missing, I can mentally fill it in. I read yours after you fixed it, but I can assure you the first readers probably had no problems understanding what you had to say.

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    • Thanks, Tricia! And I think you’re right that a typo or a missing bridge stings the writer more than the reader. You’ll be happy to know that there were no typos in your comment. : )

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  9. I would not worry about a post you have already put on your blog. Only you really know what you wanted to say and that it did not come out the way you wanted when you posted. Your readers do not know you edited the post a few times, so I would just leave it alone.

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    • Hi, Ana. Thanks for stopping in. Your comment reminded me of what my mother would always say in response to my worries about making a mistake during a dance recital, “Just smile and keep going, and nobody else will know you messed up.”

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