I’ve lost count, but math doesn’t lie.
Over the past four weeks, I’ve drafted this post at least a dozen times. It doesn’t feel like four weeks, but I began on New Year’s Day. It doesn’t feel like my fingers have crawled over this keyboard for 20 hours (or more), and I’m scared that it won’t read as if they have either.
Four weeks and more than 20 hours? That seems like a lot, right? I wish I could claim that I was meticulously crafting each sentence, utilizing my thesaurus to choose perfect words—mesmerizing you, kind reader, with my prose.
That would be an inaccurate claim.
These days, I care how people respond to what I write. During my younger years, I spent an inordinate amount of time not caring; just typing, barely editing beyond a spellcheck to get my rant into the world. (Of course, I always cared, but telling myself I didn’t was a wonderful cover for my insecurities.)
Now, I seem to have swung to the opposite pole. When I sit with an idea and find my flow, I try returning to that non-caring place. Whether I accomplish this goal or not—and regardless of where I started—part of my brain inevitably directs my fingers to stray ever so slightly, but enough to explore in detail something that for now should remain a simple signpost along the path to my ultimate destination.
Without fail, that tangent transforms from a single sentence into 10 paragraphs that require literary breadcrumbs to return to my unintentional fork in the road. Besides, this new thread can be its own thing. Meanwhile, if I've lost my own thread, where have I left you?
To those who know me beyond words on a screen, I realize your likely response to the above is, “Duh!” And yet, my difficulty curbing this practice continues to surprise me, which it shouldn't since my wife’s phone still describes me as “Superhero Tangent Man," 10 years after we met. (Avoiding tangents #1: A story related to our first date.)