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On The Merits of Unfiltered Writing

October 23, 2011

On principle, writing that is well-polished, thoroughly-edited, and adequately sourced, is superior to unfiltered writing, which is written off-the-top-of-one’s head, based on conjecture and intuition; refined and authoritative writing will always win against raw inspiration in a contest of literary power. But then again, the purpose of refining and sourcing one’s writing is not so much to learn and to discover new things (that being accomplished in the creation of the original raw materials of the original draft), but to present that which one already knows to be true, in a form that the target audience(s) will be appreciative of.

So then, whereas the final product– that which will be presented as the fruit of one’s labor– the product of painstaking research, compilation, diction, sourcing, framing (of words), and optimization– is what is of most immediate merit to everyone else, The original state– the unfiltered writing- is of the greatest benefit to the writer, as it is the means by which the writer was able to begin to truly understand (or at least to understand in the literary medium) the material which he was to convey, and eventually he (or the editor, if the circumstances favor it) would present in the form to which we (everyone else) will appreciate as well (if not better) as he had already understood the original product.

In addition, if the writer were to, instead of editing to a refined state all of his material (as convention would suggest), but take the alternative route by leaving nearly all of his writing in the unpolished state, he would be permitted to advance significantly farther in his creative endeavors, than one who would be when creatively limited by the tedious editing process. In fact, I have done this very thing, in nearly all of my blog posts, emphasizing creative output over aesthetics; not so as to say that I am prioritizing quantity over quality (which is not necessarily the case), but rather, I have decided that the aesthetic preoccupations of the editing process are rather irrelevant to the goal of my writing: creative expression.

Creative expressionism, as an art form, draws a very hard-to-see line between aestheticism and art, and especially when concerning the type of art that is considered to be “creative” (as supposed to arts that are more of crafts –i.e. artisan-work). If, for example, my medium of creative expressionism would be a a forum-based roleplay-inspired story, then the elimination of the editing process as a creative priority would surely enhance the creative equilibrium and (in the long run) produce a greater masterpiece than a carefully-edited story could ever manage.

In the same way, massive information-sharing projects such as “Wikipedia” could never have become as massive as they have, if the site editors censored and peer-reviewed every article in Wikipedia, reverting all commits made without sources already deemed “authoritative” by the site moderators, Wikipedia would have suffered a fate even worse than Citizendium (a project started as a fork of Wikipedia by one of the founders!) Point being, unfiltered writing isn’t just an essential part of the writing development process– for some writing environments (and many creatively inclusive ones) the deliberate publishing of unfiltered writing becomes a necessity.

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