My mind works in mysterious ways. I never know what it is going to think at 4am or what I am going to write about. Oh, sometimes I will think long and hard about a subject for weeks and it will suddenly rise to the surface. Other days I write about a news topic or a conversation with a friend or something that happened in school the day before. Often I have little time for my personal posts here because I have spent the morning writing my Caddo or Kindergarten blog. I seldom write all three in one morning unless I am really fortunate. Which brings me to my topic this morning: the writing process.
I often think about how blessed I was to be born into a writing family. Many of my ancestors felt this peculiar need to share their thoughts on paper with the public and I know that my descendents do. It must be a gene that has yet to be discovered by scientists!
My thoughts this morning were about how the process of presenting our thoughts to the public has changed over the generations. I imagine my great grandfather toiling with his pen and paper- thinking, writing, thinking, perhaps crossing out something and writing it a different way. He delivered his column to the newspaper and the type for it was set by hand. Then it was printed on paper. Then the paper was delivered to the public.
My grandmother typed her columns and stories on a sturdy manual typewriter. Of course she wrote most of them out by hand first, because you couldn’t think AND type at the same time. Those of you who had any experience with them know that the early typewriters were monstrous things that required wrist and finger strength to operate. The keys often got stuck and the ribbon tangled and mistakes had to be covered up and retyped. Some of Della’s early manuscripts have xxxx over mistakes and then the corrected word.
My mother was thrilled to progress from manual typewriters to electric and then to a huge “word processor” that seemed like the epitome of efficiency! And I was privileged to witness her writing process from the time I took my first steps. She was always reading and thinking and jotting down notes. She wrote almost everything down on paper and then rewrote and edited and thought some more before she typed a finished copy to be mailed somewhere. It sometimes took her a month to complete an article. Then it was a week to six months before it appeared in print.
So here I sit at the computer each morning typing my thoughts with a keyboard that is so easy and efficient that a preschooler can use it. There is very little “process” that gets between my brain and my fingers, especially since I spent all those hours with Mrs. Hodges learning typing skills! My fingers usually find their target keys without any problems. But if I do make a mistake it is quickly corrected by my own efforts or by the computer program.
I don’t write anything down first and I don’t take very many notes unless I’m doing some serious research. I write and rewrite here on the screen until I’m happy with the results. No one sees anything except the finished product.
Then I instantly deliver my little thoughts and ideas to you by copying them to a site that takes care of all the technical aspects for me! Of course if I want to submit something to a magazine or newspaper I have to do a few more things, but not much.
My children and grandchildren probably do most of their writing on their phones or pads or notebooks or something else that I have yet to master. Perhaps their children and grandchildren will bypass the writing process altogether and simply speak to the public on YouTube. I don’t know. Things change, and often for the best! You never know…
This is a poem written by my mother: