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March 10, 2012: Hit or Miss

Pete’s gone for a ski. It’s a beautiful morning. A slight wind has been blowing the snow off the trees, creating a sparkly effect. It was about 0°F this morning, but has now warmed up a bit. I didn’t go with him. I decided instead to catch up on backlogged writing, some of which includes this dispatch.

Donald Murray often said that writing should be seen as a process of discovery—you figure out what you want to say as you go along. The blank page often surprises. Indeed, some of my best writing materializes as I’m writing. I now understand why Murray’s ideas might (in some circles) be seen as unpopular because this kind of thinking denotes uncertainty and inefficiency.

In academic writing, inductive reasoning takes a back seat to deductive reasoning. Academic writers then have to scramble

to find a thesis, and then revise, moving the thesis upward. The argument is made, and claims follow suit.

Murray also repeatedly said “Never a day without a line. I try to adhere to what I regard as a dictate. Dispatches are at least initially low stakes writing. This is as opposed to Raudi’s Story, which is high stakes writing. It works best for me to shuttle back-and-forth between generating material, revising, and copy editing it. The low stakes writing becomes medium stakes writing at the point in my composing process in which I decide that I’m going to post it.

I was tempted to scrap this because it seems so piecemeal. The good/bad judgment call. I have to be more accepting of the fact that some of the dispatches are going to be so-so and others are going to knock reader’s socks off. But I’m going to put it up, along with the first draft. I have taken a marker and noted where I made changes.

Okay – I have now done this. I actually felt like I was moving stuff around more than I actually was. More than anything, I clarified what I was getting at. I feel like I adhered more to my initial ideas than I first thought. It would be fun to look at other writer’s composing process self-protocols.

Next: 93. 3/11/12: The Egg Infinitum