In twenty-five minutes (7:40) I will hit the “Publish” button.

That restriction comes from the SAT, of course, although nothing else is similar. I don’t have a prompt, I don’t get graded, I’m typing and can add and delete things freely. It doesn’t matter. I don’t know if this is a reasonable thing to do in the slightest.

I do know that I need to practice writing in some form.

I still have maybe eight prompts in the SAT prep book that I haven’t looked at yet. I’m just lazy, and writing like this is more interesting. Besides, the stakes are higher, since some people I know are actually going to read this. Probably. So that compensates for the lack of test conditions.

I haven’t been writing enough on my own, anyway — I’m always debilitatingly perfectionist when doing that, which is the obvious issue I must train myself to get around on the SAT. Because if I come up with a perfect thesis using twenty-four minutes during the test, it would still be worthless. For this blog, I have maybe half a dozen drafts, still slowly growing asides and revisions, that may see the light of day some day… in 2017, say. This is infuriating and counterintuitive because I am confident that I am improving every day on mechanics and flow and all those technical tactics. But they don’t help when I don’t know what to write about. That’s the scary hurdle.

I remember one prompt I saw on the website, which asked you whether memories helped or hindered progress. I practiced hunting for examples — literary, historical, current events. I thought I could write about how memories destroyed Jay Gatsby’s life and dreams, or extrapolate something about Elie Wiesel. “His memories, as painful as they were to bear, allowed him to publish this book that has benefited countless consciousnesses by galvanizing them to notice and correct injustices and by allowing them to cite him on the SAT essay.” I could probably get away with a vague mention of the U.S.’s decision about invading Syria and how we should remember the misinformation about the Iraq WMDs before jumping to conclusions. But I have no idea how I know if anybody in history dealt with something because of their memories.

I should probably insert a non-meta example from history or literature now, except all I can remember at the moment is this article I read about famous authors who had weird fetishes.

… Hemingway wrote maybe a hundred drafts of the ending to A Farewell to Arms. I was surprised at first because Catherine died in all of them; the only thing he was varying was how Lt. Henry responded. In some of them he went bewilderingly philosophical on the reader, in some he started describing physical details of his surroundings randomly, in some he said nothing. I’m not confident about this, but I won’t get deductions for factual inaccuracies on the SAT essay, so that’s fine.

This is pretty bad, isn’t it? But a promise is a promise and 25 minutes is 25 minutes.


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