The Sunday Salon – Editing Edition

So I wrote this giant post earlier that most of you have probably been privy to already in your Google Reader about how much I am loving 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill and how I don’t think he’s a woman hater. Here’s my problem. I went back and read the post AFTER I published it and instantly found out how nasty my foot tasted. Sadly, it took a good friend reading this for me to realize how stupid I sounded in that post. It came out ALL WRONG and I feel like I seriously offended everyone and their grandma including myself when I meant it to be a totally positive post *headdesk* #chrisfail. I have serious problems putting my thoughts into words!!! I don’t know what it is. I trust that all of you know that I’m not a woman hating jerk. And I don’t support that type of literature. So I’m sure anyone who read that post realized that’s not what I was trying to say :p But it may have come off as insensitive when I meant the total opposite. And for those reading this post who never saw the other post, this probably makes no sense, lol.

I guess what I’m trying to talk about here is the editing process that we go through when we blog. Here’s my thing. I don’t have an editing process. What you get are my immediate thoughts. I type, I don’t reread what I type, and I hit publish. So if I ever come off as insensitive, as an asshole, as a anything that’s just downright cruel, PLEASE tell me, because I don’t want to be that. And I swear it’s not intentional.

I think I will try to rewrite my 20th Century Ghosts post still, because I would like to back up Joe Hill 😉 I like the guy despite not being crazy about Heart Shaped Box and I think with a little less sleep deprivation I may be able to put together some coherent thoughts about why I think that 20th Century Ghosts actually shows support for women. I think my last post actually hurt the argument I was trying to make :/ That’s what too many migraine meds and not enough sleep will do I guess. But that post has now disappeared. It has been deleted.

How do you edit your posts? Or do you edit your posts? Do you type and publish? How long does it take you to write a post? Food for thought on a Sunday….ok, shutting up now and going to bed…goodnight….


23 Responses

  1. *whallop* I think you have to try really, really hard to come across as ‘insensitive’… (And I’m sad you deleted the whole thing, not just the last bit.)

    For blog posts, I tend to edit as I go. Hence why it can take me up to an hour to write a review and half a day if it’s a rambly post. It usually doesn’t make the post sound any better than it did in its first draft – to me – but apparently people get the gist of what I’m trying to say. (I’m sure it helps that I tend to stay away from controversial things if I can help it to begin with.) Actually, I’m pretty similar to you in that I have no real ‘process’. (I can’t do essays properly either, but I get a first draft done somehow at least.)

    Get some rest, Chris! *hugs* May the migraine go away!

  2. Your post isn’t in my Google Reader! But I’m guessing it had something to do w/ my Sunday Salon last week, so I just wanted to say that I don’t think Joe Hill is a woman hater. However, the way that many of his narrators talked about women disturbed me. And maybe *listening* to it in audio form made me notice it more, I don’t know. I thought about not mentioning it, but it really did decrease my enjoyment of the collection, and I try to be honest in my reviews. 😦 And since I have so many books to talk about in Sunday Salon, I couldn’t provide excerpts to explain what I was talking about. And I hope that I don’t come off as someone liable to to find offense where there isn’t any, or a man-hater. Ok, end of Eva rambling!

    I don’t really have an editing process either, except for very rare circumstances. This year, I’ve gotten better at using spellchecker-that’s about it!

  3. I read the post, and because I know YOU I knew you didn’t mean any harm. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to explain yourself more clearly, of course!

    As for editing, I read through my posts at least twice, and I STILL manage to miss all kinds of mistakes :S Lately I’ve been reading them out loud to myself before I hit publish – a tip I got from Eva – but I’m really not sure if the benefits are worth how cringe-worthy the experience is 😛

  4. I do not use google reader so I am one of those who knows not what you wrote before.
    I don’t “edit” persay.. but I do write all my posts in Windows Live Writer which is a free program and you can use it on or off line and you can be preparing many different posts on it at the same time.. so most of the time I don’t write and publish within the same moments. I may upload pictures and name the post and leave it to upload other pics.. come back and write some, leave it and come back again later. When you are ready to post it all you do is click the name of the blog you want it to go to and hit publish. (btw: you can start a second blog in another place like live journal and publish to both within moments! I found this a big advantage to keep a back up blog..just in case!)

  5. See, I wish I could edit comments, because re-reading mine it sounds like I’m being patronizing and patting you on the head, and that’s not what I meant at all 😦 What I meant was: don’t worry about people reading it in GR – we won’t be upset at you. But I also understand why you took it down, because each post (or comment, or book, or whatever) should be able to stand for itself and not require us to know the person behind it so that it’s not upsetting. Having said that, don’t ever be afraid to stir the pot. It’s through these conversations that we grow and learn and all that *insert violins*

    Argh, I hope this made sense. I’m a little nervous this morning. Could it be that vlog I have uploading? :S

  6. Like Nymeth, I reread my post a couple of times before hitting publish, but then always find mistakes. Or I find that the post doesn’t communicate what I wanted it to communicate. I usually write the post immediately after finishing the book, and reread it a day later before publishing it – sometimes I find that helps with making sure that everything I wanted to say doesn’t sound dumb.

  7. I just come right here, so I had to backtrack to GR to find out what the hell you were talking about. You know, like Ana said, I think I just know YOU so well, that I understood what you were saying. But I get what you mean…because I’m not a naturally talented writer, because I struggle so much trying to make sure things sound like I mean them to sound. And I know I sometimes fail in that endeavor, and misunderstandings ensue. It tends to make me want to shut up entirely. But really, I don’t think we should do that, do you? If conversations take place, then learning ensues.

    As for editing…I drive myself absolutely bonkers. I edit and edit and edit. It takes me forever to write a damn blog post. Let me tell you, it’s no fun being a perfectionist who just plain can’t write. 😦 I know that my editing doesn’t even do that much good…I nearly always feel that I didn’t get everything across that I was trying to say anyway. *sigh*

  8. I’m with Ana and Debi. I know I haven’t known you for as long as either of them, and honestly I don’t think knowing you influenced my opinion, but I read that post in my reader and it didn’t sound bad at all. I would actually support your opinions (from an outside point of view, of course – I haven’t read that collection). so just know that there was no offense here.

    I always reread through my posts, but that doesn’t stop me from sticking my foot in my mouth sometimes. 😦 Sadly, having an editing process doesn’t stop me from being completely idiotic at times.

  9. I didn’t get to read your original post, but to answer your question, then I rarely edit myself. Reading my posts now, I find all sorts of glaring mistakes in them (spelling errors, grammatical errors etc), and of course it would be nice not to have them there. But not so much that I want to spend time editing and searching every post for mistakes. I know that you are talking about another sort of editing “mistakes” though, but since I didn’t see the original post, I cannot really comment on it.

  10. I did miss that post, for the record. But I haven’t been reading your blog that long, and I already know that I couldn’t imagine you as a woman-hater (exhibit A: your post re: Wicked Lovely). I think we all write things that we wish we could take back, even if we do edit. I usually write a post and then leave it for 24 hours at least before posting, reading it again before I publish. If it’s something I’m nervous about, I re-read a couple of times, and if I’m really nervous I’ll have someone look over it for me. This still doesn’t prevent me from going back and reading the entry immediately after publishing, then days and weeks after publishing, and thinking “OH crap, I didn’t mean it that way” as well as finding stupid little spelling and grammar things. But, so it goes.

  11. Well, I didn’t see the post so I can’t comment on it but I can’t see you as being insensitive much less a woman hater in any form.

    As for editing, I find myself being very aware of anything political that I might want to say on my reading blog. I don’t want to offend anyone and I’ve learned that there’s tolerance and then there’s tolerance.

    For the more mundane editing, I’m constantly going back over old blogs and finding typos but unless there’s a glaring error that really bothers me, I generally leave it alone.


  12. Okay, so I did read the post and I still don’t see anything seriously offensive in it. Your point is a valid one – there’s a difference between the author as a person and the author’s characters. Characters are often horrid but that doesn’t mean the author is. A perfect example, for me, was the Nevada Barr book “Winter Study”. Her bad guy was hideous and part of what made me glad to see him get his at the end was his use of ‘the c’ word. I dispise that word and anyone who uses it but I don’t hate Nevada Barr for using it. I wish she hadn’t but I’ve got to admit it was an effective tool to make the character unredeemable.

    I hope this makes some sort of sense.


  13. I got to read the post, in fact they were right next to each other in my google reader this morning. I didn’t think you sounded like a woman hater at all! I honestly didn’t read anything bad into it at all. It might be that I have a sneaking suspicion that you would never write a post like that, ever. 🙂

    I have written things and then published them and regretted it. I think I spend a lot more time with my posts now than I did when I first started blogging.

    In any case, I thought your opinions on those stories were important and you should NOT be afraid of stirring the pot. I always am and then I wish I’d spoken up! By the time I get the courage up to post, the discussion is over.

  14. The post didn’t show up in my reader!! I checked last night when I saw what transpired on twitter. (I’m so nosy) But it’s interesting because I was thinking…gosh this is why it’s so important to not jump to conclusions about what people say based on something you read and Ana says the exact opposite of me…each post should stand alone.

    This is a hard hard lesson I learned during BBAW….that who you are and what you produce and write and create are different. And yet they’re not. It’s all so complicated.

    Anyways, I think you’re fantastic and I look forward to your thoughts. I think all sides should always be presented and that each of us does have a perspective that is unique and belongs to us and may enable us to see what others can’t.

  15. I didn’t see the post in question Chris, but nobody here would suspect you of being insensitive!

    As for editing. What’s that? 😉 I hate the editing process to it tends to be a quick read through that that’s it!

  16. Well, thank goodness I have Google Reader or I’d be going nuts wondering what on earth you said to make you delete an entire post. So, I’ve read it and I didn’t see anything offensive in it at all — I understand your point, that just because the man creates evil characters who call women horrible names doesn’t mean he’s a misogynist. In fact, I think that’s a part of what makes the characters so horrifying.

    As to editing posts . . . ugh. I can spend the better part of half a day editing my posts to death. It’s one of the reasons I periodically flip my top and think I should quit blogging completely. For some reason, I just don’t know how to shut off that internal editor (I’ve tried and failed) and the result is that I’ve really spent too much time on the internet in the past couple of years. I’m getting fatter and my house is getting messier. Something has definitely got to change. I wish I could just write and hit “post”, the way you do.

  17. I think this happens to a lot of us, Chris. I don’t edit my posts either and I write them fairly quickly (usually in the morning before work when I’m rushed to hit that “publish” button so I don’t get fired!). 😛

    The thing about written word is that it is easily misconstrued. I know I keep this in mind when I’m reading others’ posts–and sometimes I’ll ask the person straight up what they meant. Unless we all start writing theses (heaven forbid!) I think miscommunication will continue to happen. Unfortunately. But good news is we’re all understanding and love ya!

  18. I only edit for spelling errors!!! Don’t worry I’ve never thought any of those things about you…EVER!! 🙂

  19. First off, Thank you to everyone!!!! Now to individual comments:

    Shanra, I just knew there would be newspapers involved when I posted this :/ I wish I did take an entire day to edit my posts! Instead it takes me all of 20 minutes to write them and then I just hit publish :/ And that’s it :/ And I would say that I’m going to change that, but I probably won’t. Thanks for the migraine wishes! I seem to be ok today 😀 And thanks for the email and the housewarming gift!! I sent you a long email back!!

    Eva, I sent you a long email too explaining, lol. The post actually had nothing to do with you. It had to do with the two years of posts I’ve read bashing that book and I actually have had a very different experience with it so far. But I sent you the post so that you can read it! I know you’re not a man hater!! And I love Eva rambling, so please don’t ever stop 😉 I can’t believe you don’t have an editing process!! Your posts always seem so put together and like they took hours to write!! I wish I could write that well. Let’s not even talk about spellchecker…lord knows I could benefit from that :/

    Nymeth, I don’t know if I’m even going to bother explaining myself more clearly…I feel like I’ll only make it worse :/ I’ll try to explain some in my review whenever that happens though. I just really like these stories!! I can’t wait to hear your point of view on them though…even if you do totally disagree with me 😉 Ooooh, we could have a 10k word tl;dr review again, lol. I never reread through my posts and I think that’s because I know how anal of an editor I WILL be. If I go back and glance at it even once I’d probably delete every damn post on my blog like I did last night. I’d probably be horrified of everything I’ve ever written :p And you didn’t come off as patronizing at all!! Don’t you worry about that. But I think you get what I’m trying to say…we read into everything we right with our own worries and subconscious telling us things that make us second guess ourselves when we should really trust our audience. But I AM afraid to stir the pot Ana!!! I need to get over that!! It made lots of sense 😉

    Deslily, Maybe I should start doing that…writing a post and coming back to it later. That’s a good idea. I just get excited when I write something and want to publish it right away :p So I just type and click Publish! It would probably benefit me to actually let it sit for a day though. And I really need to start keeping a back up of my blog too!! I don’t know what I’d do if I lost my blog one day. I’d be so upset 😦

    Court, That’s my doesn’t necessarily communicate what I wanted to communicate. I always write my book reviews right after I finish a book which is why I always seem so damn excited about books and have lots of caps and !!!!. I probably should let it sit for a day and then come back to it afterwards :p

    Debi, Oh, I’m so glad that you understood what I was trying to say!!! That makes me feel so much better. But can you see how I felt like a total ass when I went back and read what I actually wrote. Especially with all of the dumb “LOLs” and :p’s and :D’s in the middle of a sensitive topic like that….*headdesk*. You are TOO a naturally good writer Debi!!!! I was just telling…..someone (Ana?) in an email how I wish I could write as eloquently about important things as some people can and I used you as one of my examples. You write beautifully Debi!! I love your posts! You’re right though..if conversations ensue, that really is a good thing. It’s not something I should back away from, but it’s an insecurity I have to overcome. I’m not good with ANY type of confrontation at all! I think me and you need to meet somewhere in the middle when it comes to editing 😉

    Amanda, Oh good!! You got me too, lol. I just felt like what I wrote could be seriously misconstrued. In fact I know it could because I went back and read it from a different viewpoint and I was appalled. But I’m glad you could see what I was trying to say. I think we all stick our feet in our mouth occasionally. It just happens. It’s unavoidable, isn’t it?

    Louise, Oh lets not even talk about spelling and grammatical mistakes, lol. Lets just say I will never win an award for any of that :p I don’t know if it’s better to edit and edit or just to hit publish. Honestly, I’m asking for suggestions, but I’ll probably continue to just hit publish otherwhise I don’t think I’d ever get another post published.

    Kiirstin, Well thank you 😀 That makes me feel better that people know me pretty well from reading, even if just for a little while! That seems to be a lot of people’s advice..leave it for 24 hours. I would totally do that if I had patience, but I don’t seem to have ANY! lol…I need to learn that :p I like that “so it goes” It’s basically my motto :p

    CJ, I TRY to steer away from the political too, and that is a somewhat political-ish topic, or at least a topic where one can take sides that I addressed last night. But I do think it’s a topic that needs to be talked about. I’m just horrible at talking about it. I have to thank you though CJ. You know, I’ve told you this before, but you’re like a little angel that sets me straight every time I’m freaking out over something :p

    Lu, Thank you ma’am. You along with everyone else has eased my severe anxiety attacks, lol. I wish I wasn’t afraid of stirring the pot, but those fears probably aren’t going anywhere anytime soon :p

    Amy, yeah, I can be nosy too :p I thought Renay hated me!!! But she ended up being the best friend in consoling me last night 🙂 She knows me and I think she understood that I would never say anything to purposefully condone treating women horribly. It really is SO complicated :/ You have a certain audience that knows you really well that’s going to understand if you misinterpret yourself, but there are also readers who are going to come by and read JUST that post. And that’s what they know of you with no background info and it can cause a big shit storm, lol. I think that’s why I usually avoid big issues. You handled yourself very well during BBAW though..whereas I just deleted the post :p Thanks Amy!

    Bart, Thanks 🙂 I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who doesn’t have the strictest of editing policies 😉

    Nancy, Oh, thank God!! LOL…seriously, I thought I was going to alienate all of my readers. That was the point that I was trying to make, but it really can be read a totally different way. And you read the book!! So that backs me up a little bit! I just love your posts Nancy!! Your like my post idol. They’re put together so well and perfectly balanced. I need to take some lessons from you 😉

    Trish, I’m learning from the comments to this post that it really does happen to a lot of us! Yay!! Another non-editor 😀 The written word truly is easily misconstrued. That’s the best policy, Trish…just ask if you’re not getting something. Thanks for making me feel better 🙂

    Staci, Woohooo!! Yet another non-editor…though you do more editing than me 😉 I don’t even spell check, lol. Thanks!!

  20. hmm. well i do use google reader and did read the post but i must have missed whatever you meant. I am reading at work between calls so maybe i just didn’t read closely enough?

    as for editing, it depends. some books i start writing the review post when i’m in the process of still reading it and just keep saving and updating the draft. for posts i’m just writing that day i usually read them a few times before i publish. as for mistakes or things after i post, if i see something little like a typo i’ll just correct it. i’ve only decided to redact a post a couple times so far when i’ve found that i was completely incorrect about something i’ve posted about.

  21. I didn’t see the post (I’m very curious now!) but I liked Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box and am eager to read 20th Century Ghosts. I’ve heard a few people comment on the way he treats women in his writing. As a woman, I don’t get really offended by sexism in writing because it’s a fact of life. Sexism still exists, there *are* people out there who treat women like meat (to be honest, the media and how famous women portray themselves aren’t helping) and it’s important that artists don’t ignore this stuff and do expose it for what it is. Then again, like I said, I haven’t read the collection of short stories yet so I don’t know whether Hill’s trying to make a point, it depends on who the characters are, or whether it’s just blatantly gratuitous.

    One of my all-time favourite books is American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and a lot of people called that sexist. In all fairness, the protagonist goes around butchering women and treating them like s*** but that’s what Ellis was trying to do … I’m not going to go on with that book because I’ll be here all day defending it. 😉 hehe.

    As far as editing goes, usually I type and then click post. Then I’ll re-read it when it’s live on my blog and usually make a few edits here and there within a couple of minutes of publishing. 🙂

  22. Nah, you don’t need lessons. Your writing is perfect. I can’t believe you never edit. I’m really quite envious.

  23. Psssh, your method of writing works at least 99% of the time, Chris. I wouldn’t change it just because you’ve had one brush-in with a post you thought, in retrospect, too offensive/badly written/whathaveyou. It’s one thing if you’re always deleting things/editing them after the fact or other tinkering, but it’s another when you consistently write up well-thought-out, coherent posts and have a very rare rotten apple in the midst of that.

    Of course if you want to change the process you work with… I wouldn’t stop you even if I knew how to effectively do that. Just… I don’t think this one instance makes it something absolutely necessary or anything. *huggles* Hope the migraines have been staying away today too! (Er, or will be staying. *time zone difference fail*)

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