(Re)Drafting and the Potentials of Argument

One way to think about writing potentials is to consider the chunks of paragraphs (and sometimes pages) that almost were. I often slap a whole bunch of ideas down into my word document, then work to narrow, trim, and hedge the argument into something more streamlined. I revise more than I plan. But maybe my drafting is my planning. Typically, I do lots of writing in my research journal as i read – much of this is copied whole cloth (or with light editing) into the word document that becomes the “draft.” Even that moment is a potentiality – inscribing the file with the potentiality to become something more than another file on my computer (a conference paper proposal, a manuscript submission, etc). In the process of trimming down my prose, I cut out pieces that have meaning and offer up alternative potentials for meaning making – potentials in the sense that if I were to dwell in the prose, it would entail new trains of thought, perhaps new neural tracks, leading me (or returning me to) an alternative felt sense. The missed consequences of cutting without (re)pasting.

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