I made a slew of revisions to the liturgy article today, based on comments from a helpful reader. (Thanks!) I hope this will clarify the argument considerably and also explain the specialized vocabulary better. Unfortunately it has probably also gotten longer.
Helpful Reader also returned comments on the patronage piece, which I haven't gotten to yet, and remarked that it seemed more mature. I found this curious, since the patronage piece was dashed off in a shortish period of time--no more than six weeks, I'd guess, and probably less--before a conference, whereas I've been laboring over the liturgy article for much longer. On and off for two years, in fact.
It's occurred to me that perhaps that on-and-off process has not helped that particular paper. In revising it I've had to cut repetition regularly, probably due to writing sections at different times. I've had to make the argument come through more clearly, perhaps because I've grown too close to it and have more trouble expressing it clearly. Perhaps I need to try harder to finish a piece of writing in a short period of time, rather than writing one section, coming back a few months later and writing another, etc.
Readers, feel free to chime in: how to you do your most effective writing? Do you try to finish a draft as quickly as possible, or come back and add to it at intervals, or something else?