My early impression of writing was that it was meant to be smooth and additive the way a sculptor could begin a piece with a lump of clay and continuously add more lumps until satisfied with the result. I could turn in 5 pages of legible brain drain, but I failed to worry about editing beyond punctuation. Later, as I learned to appreciate the complexity of the writing process, my understanding pendulum swung to the other extreme, “writing must be subtractive,” I thought to myself, “Since I am a verbose writer, surely I wont have a problem conjuring up a granite block from which to chisel an articulate paper.”
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
However writing is no more a Michelangeloian reveal than it is a clay accumulation. I started treating my paper the way Michelangelo treated marble, I wanted to find a cherub in every pebble I wrote. Consequently my paper was too short, subtractive writing begets little writing.
Writing a paper must be like building the Statue of Liberty; a base structure that is both stable and supportive is equivalent to writing an outline, but the more difficult task is making the visible pieces to be both quantitatively sufficient to cover the base, and aesthetically pleasing. My new goal is to balance my freedom as an artist and my conviction as a critic in a net positive manner.