What I Have Learned From My Writing

As I was reading the articles on the history of word processing, I could not help but notice the keyword “preservation”. In the articles, it was mentioned that throughout the history of word processing, the issue for authors between using type writers or using a computerized machine to write their works, was the issue of reliability. Most early authors only cared for writing on typewriters because they only wanted to type out their work. It was only later on when admirers of these authors were seeking if there was any data left from these authors that was preserved, in order to discover more pieces of work from these authors. So, if these early authors had worked on computerized machines and saved their data, then perhaps we would have discovered more of their works, if we had not already discovered them.

Now we are only aware of what was made available to us, however if a computer was used, we can search the data of it, and even if we do not find complete pieces of works, we will find portions. For instance, with one of Ernest Hemmingway’s final works, it was a collaborative piece and was never completed, the other collaborators had to complete the piece of work after his death, through the texts he left. If he had been working on a computerized system, the data saved would have shown us perhaps the order of how he wished these sections were divided and laid out in his last book. Also through this data, we can learn more about the time of when he started writing his pieces and how long it took for him to finish them. Computerized writing does not only help preserve pieces of texts, but it helps us learn more about the writing process that comes with the texts.

When I write, I used to always write by hand, so whenever I go back over my writings, I never see exactly how my revisions were made, however, when I stated writing on a computer, because how Google Docs allows you to follow up your revisions, it actually helps me discover previous ideas I wanted to mention but because of a certain revision, i forgot about that idea, therefor, I can find a way to include it. Also, I can see the progress of my work, how each revision session changed and what exactly is being changed, in order for me to understand what I should focus on with my writing. Do I focus on more description, more imagery, adding more emotion, fixing sentence structures, etc. By reviewing each revision session, I will realize with each piece of work that I did, what was weak about it and what was strong about it and what needed work. Also I really like the idea about the dates and the times being available on computers since it shows how long each writing or revision session was and shows me a timeline of the progress of my work, which is not available when you write by hand.

Furthermore, usually when I write by hand, I do not like mistakes being made on the paper and I like the notebook to be organized, so on the days where I am suffering from writer’s block for a certain piece, because I do not want to disorganize the pages of the notebook and open a next page and start a new piece until i know what to do with the previous one, on a computer, I can just open up a new document, and not worry about creating a mess or ruining a specific organization, therefor on computers, I am more motivated to write even if the work is not complete. At least I am writing about all my ideas and am going back to them. (633).

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4 thoughts on “What I Have Learned From My Writing

  1. I like your comment on “preservation” and the reliability of computers over typewriters; however, keep in mind that computers weren’t as advanced in Ernest Hemingway’s time as it is in ours. In fact, by the time he died, the computer was around for 15 years, maybe less (so it may not be as reliable or as efficient). On the other hand, some of these writers did not have an accessible computer on hand; Ray Bradbury, for example, wrote Fahrenheit 451 on a typewriter in a library. With multiple drafts off a typewriter, revisions can be noted, even though the changes aren’t being tracked (but visually, I do find that there is a loss of organization in that process).

  2. I agree with Nhu’s comment completely. I like that you brought up the idea of preservation, but I was lost in your argument after you mentioned it. Many authors wrote on typewriters for their publisher’s and editor’s sake. Many wrote in notebooks to begin but would go to a typewriter for legibility and and ability to organize everything. Furthermore, I think you have the article’s idea of preservation backwards- many authors did not trust computers because if the document did not save or the file was corrupted, that entire manuscript was lost. So, much like how we’ve talked about humanists moving from tangible books to E-readers, authors reluctantly went from paper copies to computers.

  3. For that reason, as mentioned by Freeland, I’ve been writing in a notebook for the purposes of keeping a physical copy of my short stories (creative writing) as I fear any work made on computerized sources could easily be deleted or corrupted; I can simply re-read the notebook for any possible revisions or when I’m ready to transfer the writing to computerized text.
    I can, however, see how preservation can fit into your argument and I agree that tracking in text of any type is necessary for organization. I could also see how you feel that computerized text is more reliable by the list of capabilities it has over hand-writing or type-writing in comparison. It’s good to hear that you are observant towards the writing process and improving your writing as well.

  4. I find it interesting that a word processor helps you with writer’s bloc because my experience has always been the opposite. I think when using a computer, it’s much easier to become distracted or unfocused, so I will sometimes resort to writing with pen and paper. With the added concentration of writing by hand, I find that it forces me to be more succinct and clear in my wording/style.

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