The pitfalls of not preparing 

Tonight I wish I had a post already written, something lined up in my queue, edited and ready to go. But I don’t. I am not that organized. 

I once interned in the communications department at a policy nonprofit, Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and was in awe to find they had planned out the blog’s topics more than a month in advance. My own writing had always been spontaneous, based on the inspiration of the moment. I would sit down at my computer in a mild panic, poring over architectural news (this was when I still wanted to be a critic) until something caught my eye or I became exasperated and picked a random story as the subject of my rage or praise. 

Writing this way is stressful. It leaves little to no time for revision. It can lead to grandiose assertions and tepid metaphors. It makes for very bad writing. 

After years of not preparing for blogs, I have yet to change my habits. There is no calendar in my office outlining weeks or even days of ideas. I do keep working lists of interesting topics, but I often misplace the lists beneath piles of other important papers or buried on an obscure page of my many notebooks. I find these lists sometimes and smile and murmur appreciatively at my past ideas. I promise myself to write a new, more current list, and sometimes I do, but the endeavor is always abandoned. 

I tell myself writing is more topical this way, more lively, more me. I tell myself it is easier, which is true in a sense because I don’t have to waste any time on planning. I am a wonderful procrastinator. But then I sit down, on a night like tonight, and can think of nothing about which to write except my own writerly shortcomings and my mind returns wistfully to that large calendar in the office at CNT. With a tool like that I might have the time and space to write about compelling topics such as the shrinking middle class in America or the psychological factors driving persistent overuse injuries in runners. Instead, my creativite energy has been spent lamenting my lack of foresight and so I will sign off, hoping for greater success tomorrow.


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