Cross-Posted at Amazing Stories
I usually compose on the computer. Normally, looking at my writing blog, you all see a rough draft, essentially. I type it, scan it, and press publish. I type into the WordPress box, and you get my train of thought, derailments and all. Rarely, you get one of what I consider my scholarly attempts, where I compose in a wordprocessor, research, add either citations or links, go over for internal consistency and grammar checks, and then post. Just what every English comp. student is taught to do, and so few people actually adhere to.
This post is something different. I don’t have access to a computer (I’m in class. Comp. class, as a point of fact.) so I am writing longhand. I find when I compose in one medium and transcribe to another I add, delete, and generally change the text. When I take the time to compose outside the blog, those posts, to me looking back at them, look very different that the impromptu posts. I suspect by the time this particular text makes it to your computer screen, it will have been substantively altered.
When you write, capturing the urgency of the moment, your own voice and style, happens in the first contact of pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and with each re-working of the text, some of that is polished away. Yes, taking the rough edges off is a good thing. Re-organizing your thoughts may make an essay more readable. Inding internal inconsistencies will improve your story. However, taking it too far will polish away wheat is uniquely you, and leave behind something so bland your reader will walk away untouched by your emotions.
For that is the point, is it not? To convey to the reader some sort of reaction. In a story, to evoke a connection, some sense of your character’s humanity that reaches out from the page and whispers to them. In an essay, to create a philosophical thought. Not a knee-jerk sense of repulsion, although that can be a powerful tool if paired with some explanation of your reasons behind making your readers angry. Whatever you write, it is you, and however you draft your writing, be it paper, quill pen, or keyboard, let some of that which is essentially you, remain in the completed work. It will be richer and more powerful for it.