I touched a little about the change in my writing process in my last blog post, and it’s something that I’m thinking about more now. It first came out as I writing my essay on “How I Write” and how new media has affected that. I was writing about the differences between new media and traditional writing and I found myself looking at how my writing process has changed. It never occurred to me that there was a change. It must have been so subtle that I never noticed it, or it shows how my writing techniques have sunk into my unconscious.
For as long as I could remember, I would always write my rough drafts on lined paper because every time I pulled up a blank word document my mind would wander, and I would find myself browsing random websites. It was never productive. I had to sit down with a piece of paper and pen and write. It was effective because I could physically see the words that I didn’t like and move around the sentences. Using different color pens to edit my sentence structure let me see what I needed to change.
But as soon as I entered college that all changed. In my first college essay ever, I wrote the rough draft in a word document, and all of the essays that followed after that were the same way. The blank word document wasn’t distracting anymore. I could begin typing away even if I didn’t have a good idea of where it was going. That’s what the backspace key was for.
Why this sudden change though? One thing was that I found myself on the computer much more often than in high school! I spend way too much time on the computer because all of my courses need it. In college, there were so many different study spaces to be focused and seeing everybody else working hard made me want to work hard too. The white page didn’t seem like a distraction anymore. It seemed welcoming and a chance for me to explore my writing.
Parts of my writing process still remain the same. I still need to print out the piece to manually edit because reading an essay on the computer doesn’t seem as effective. By seeing the piece in a different medium outside of the usual format, it helps me see the errors better. I think the brain adjusts to staring at the same thing over and over that it gets tired of it and it doesn’t see any more errors.
I find the editing and revising process on the computer seemed easier. I can change the font color of sentences that I struggled with or couldn’t find a place for. I could move sentences and words around easily. This new process saved time because I already had my rough draft in place and to transition into my final draft I already had what was needed on the computer without having to type it in.
Part of why I like printing out the paper in the revision process is because I like seeing the corrections I make. I like looking a 5 page paper with a bunch of red marks because it lets me know that I am closer to making the paper the way I want it.
I still don’t know what drove the change still. The more that I think about it, the less it makes sense. As new media gets more prominent, I see the writing process slowly changing. The change might be so gradual that people don’t notice it until they look back on it.