Medium writer Josh, can’t believe he’s made a familiar mistake. No matter how he tries, he just can’t help hitting ‘publish’ before he remembers to add his story to a publication.
“It keeps happening, and it’s driving me mad,” says Josh. “I’ve got five of my own publications, and write for twenty-three more, but I forget to submit to them, and when you’ve already hit publish, it’s too late.”
I asked Josh why he thinks he hits publish too soon.
Josh: “I get excited. I can’t wait for my writing to appear online. It’s physical and emotional. My fingers wander over to the mouse and click before I can register what’s happening.”
His problem sounded familiar. I’ve heard of it before, and I asked him if he has any other premature publication issues.
Josh: “Yes. Sometimes, I publish stories before I’ve checked my grammar. I note a potential mistake as I go along and mean to come back to it later. But all I want to do is publish, publish, publish. So I do it, but the mistakes are still there.”
Me: “Tell me more.”
Josh: “I know when it’s about to happen. There’s a build-up to it. Yet, I love that part and I carry on. A little section of my brain says ‘stop.’ Nonetheless, it’s impossible.”
I assured Josh nothing’s impossible. (Well, lots of things aren’t). And suggested he went for premature publishing therapy.
Josh: “I know. I know… Lots of people suffer from my problem and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. I just can’t see myself going for therapy. After all, a therapist can only give me the same advice my agent gives me. She says I should recognize when the urge to publish arises, and get a coffee or walk around the garden for a few moments, and then write again.”
But I thought of another solution, and told Josh about it.
Me: “Why not fold a piece of A4 paper over the top right-hand section of your computer screen, so you can’t see the ‘publish’ section to click on?”
Josh looked thoughtful for a few seconds.
Josh: “I’m willing to give it a go.”
It’s been three weeks since I interviewed Josh, and he has this to say:
Josh: “The experiment’s been reasonably successful. Occasionally, I reach under the paper to check where the ‘publish’ section is before I’ve finished writing. The temptation’s always there. But I’m making progress.”
If you or any of your writer friends suffer from premature publishing, know you’re not alone. Nearly everybody else does it too. Why not try the ‘paper over the publish button’ method? Maybe it will work for you as well.
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