I swear I am an adult, but I couldn’t pass up that title. The readings this week have quite possibly become my favorite this semester as writing is an amazingly personal experience, and I truly connected with a lot of what these authors had to say about the writing process. I also think my generation is one of the bridge generations between hand writing and computer writing, and for that I count myself lucky. I remember taking typing classes in elementary and middle school, but ultimately all of my assignments were turned in handwritten and in cursive no less. It wasn’t until high school where computer papers were expected and common, but only as final drafts. In learning to write a research paper I was asked to turn in handwritten proposal drafts, then turn in a second draft either handwritten or typed with peer edits that were handwritten. Thinking back on it makes me chuckle, because now I rely so thoroughly on computer generated track changes in academic writing, but even just last year when I was editing law firm communications I would print them to ensure I didn’t miss anything.
I have various persnickety’s depending on what I am writing. When it comes to poetry, I prefer to hand write in my journal. I like the tactile feeling of crossing out words, rewriting them back in, drawing arrows to show where lines have changed positions, etc. In poetry, I think the written track changes help me connect to the emotion I am trying to portray and lets me see how the idea has changed real time. However, in all other writing, I prefer to use a computer or a word processor of some sort. I don’t know if this comes down to ease due to volume, poems usually are substantially shorter than anything else I write, so typing them up after is not as tedious as typing a handwritten paper would be.
In the Kirschenbaum article he says, “The computer is humanized, brought into the space of jottings and mumblings or musings, mood swings and household accidents.” I love this comparison of the computer to the writer’s mind for it is true, computers/word processors allow us to give a visual of our thoughts and what goes through our heads. Computers/word processors make tangible the creative process, and if tracked, could open up whole new avenues of interpretation. It would be so interesting to have Jane Austen sit down and type out her first draft of Pride and Prejudice on Google docs, and be able to see the changes she makes as she types (as Google automatically archives all changes). It would be amazing to see how authors think as they create, how their stories change as they work through them. Often the process, the journey, is more telling than the product.
I know went off on a very theoretical/cerebral tangent, so let me bring this back to our examples. It will come as no surprise that I have used many of the example word processors we were to explore. Scrivener was a program I was introduced to in college. It is extremely helpful for portfolios and drafts, as well as walking users through the writing process. It is my favorite word processor of the bunch for its myriad of organizational aspects. However, when it comes to basic word processing, I have to stick to the OG— Microsoft Word. Perhaps because I’ve used it since I started typing, it will forever be home in my word processing heart. (600)