A lot of things change over the course of a year or several. Heck, it may not even take a week for me to alter my opinion on something. What seemed okay to write down during a one hour, unedited stream of consciousness may come off as embarrassing upon reading it again. (Seriously, nothing I will ever read or watch will be as cringe-worthy as my first fictional story drafts) So, it’s often tempting to go back and change things to fit my current mindset.
This presents a problem, however. By publishing a piece of writing, people get the impression of something finished and fixed. If you change things afterwards, particularly without notifying people of the change, it breaks the trust you have with your audience. And no matter how wangsty my writing can come off at times (sometimes, I just quickly crap out stuff when I’m depressed, after all), I always strive to be sincere. Sure, going back and polishing blog posts may remove some things I’ve regretted to say, but if I end up changing my words, such an actions begs the question of how much I mean what I say. That’s why I normally don’t remove or change posts unless it ends up involving someone connected to my real life or compromising my anonymity.
So, it looks like I have a few options:
- Keep my opinion posts unedited for the sake of preserving the fossil record. The downside is that I will only be able to clarify that I don’t agree with a particular entry if I end up writing something closely related to it, which is not always guaranteed.
- Edit the posts, but with a revision record showing the changes. This is a compromise solution that spares me some fossil record embarrassment, but it still has the problem of removing my original words.
- Maintain the original words, but adding footnotes or endnotes clarifying my current position. This seems like the best compromise, but a post that’s been edited does not distinguish which edits have been made, so I will have to maintain trust that I will never edit my original words except when it ends up being connected to my real life.
It seems that I may end up going with the last option if I do get around to updating my old posts at all. However, my fiction writing, on the other hand, is fair game for editing since I’ve already clarified that what I post here is a work in progress and if I actually want to get it published, I will have to remove it from the blog anyway.
I will thus leave this with an open question: How would you deal with your old, cringe-worthy blog posts?