Running on a really hot day.

Sebastian Junger’s interview-annotated “The Storm” contains one of the best pieces of practical advice on writing – particularly self-editing – I’ve read recently:

I try to edit my work in different states of mind. So I’ll go running on a really hot day and then read the 2,000 words I just wrote. Or if I’m upset, or really sleepy, or if I’m drunk, I’ll read this stuff. If you’re sleepy and you find yourself skipping over a paragraph because you’re bored by it and just want to get to the interesting part, it comes out. Those different states of mind are a really interesting filter.

Perhaps the feeling that my writing (or my life) is not actually that interesting explains my recent years of verbal constipation? Or maybe I should just type faster and hit “Publish”?

I should also say that I’d like to see this kind of retrospective annotation done more often (as with director’s commentaries on DVDs, which I think are among the best things to happen to the experience of watching movies in the last 20 years), though in a more intuitive format (it’s already a story ripe for the JavaScript journalism Farhad Manjoo disdains; the commentary would be another layer).

(via The Awl)