I wrote the following in my portfolio, about how writing has changed from a deliberate act of pen to paper, to a more organic event capturing a stream of consciousness that edits itself in real time. How the art of the draft is being lost in the “say it fast, say it NOW” nature of the internet. And whether or not that’s necessarily a bad thing.
My thoughts sometimes race ahead of my fingers, and I have to remind myself to slow down and be more deliberate. In a way this is the downside of technology – keyboards and computer screens, auto-correct and the backspace key. We don’t have to live with our mistakes for very long, but sometimes we miss out on the lessons made available by making those mistakes. Pencil to paper, we have to think more carefully about what we want to say and how we want to say it, otherwise our hands cramp up and our erasers get worn down to a nub. Possessed of an editor, we learn to more finely tune and craft our words and skills; otherwise we get a bad grade or a poor reception. Absent of those speed bumps to slow the churn of our words, we tend to rush forward and stumble over our own thoughts as we strive to just get them out of our heads and onto the screen.
However, this may also represent an evolution in the development of a writer. The speed at which we blog and the vast audience to which our work is exposed may be forcing us to become better “first draft writers”. We’re not skipping the part where we reflect upon our words, the process just happens in a much more complex and subtle way. I think of the inside of my head as a giant mirrored ball. The facet directly in front of my eyes reflects the words that I am directly concentrating on crafting. At the same time, my peripheral vision sees the reflection of all the other words in all the other facets. I merely have to turn my eyes slightly to bring them to the forefront of my attention. In this way drafting, editing and revising happen almost simultaneously.