I discovered something the other day while I was reading through one of my drafts. It is almost silly, weird that it makes such a difference. It’s a trait I would have laughed at if another person told me that they do it for the same reason. Before I babble on further, that thing is how different I edit when doing it through a printed copy versus when doing it on the computer.
Recently, I decided to print the drafts that I was working on so that I could get them through the review stages faster than doing it from the computer. I believed that editing on the computer would be faster; however, I end up rarely working on it. Printing was to enable me the ability to edit offline. It was to guarantee I work on it, which in turn would be faster than what I was doing up to now. But I found it to be dramatically different… in an awesome way.
For starters, when I am editing on paper, I am not trying to fix it right away. I am noting things, writing things down, marking off errors, and scratching out sections, among other things. I’ll maybe jot down what I think I want to put in a spot; however, I mostly note that a phrase sounds awkward, or the wording is strange. Because I am not fixing these issues right away, I move on fast.
Then there’s the fact that I am finding things wrong that I know I wouldn’t catch while reading these drafts on the computer. I have quite a few habits in how I write, habits that some might call voice. I am spotting these as being annoying fillers, words I inject in places that they aren’t needed. Noise, I’ll call them. And for whatever reason, I don’t seem to catch them when I look for them on a computer screen. I have no idea why, it seems to be this way however.
Admittedly, I am finding a massive difference between reading on paper vs reading on an LED screen. I like digital reading when I do so from an ebook, but I avoid reading on a computer, phone, or tablet. It’s different. Why I never made this connection until now, I may never know. LED screens are hard on the eyes. Even now, even as I wear blue-blocking glasses to block the harmful blue lights from screens, I simply don’t like reading screens. So why have I been insistent to edit on a screen?
It’s like I have a switch that is flipped when I go to a piece of paper on my writing. I am somehow able to see it as a book being edited more than it being my work. I am able to separate from the writing; I cannot do the same on a screen. Maybe it’s partly for the same reasons I don’t read on a screen. It’s different though. Different in a good way.
From this point forward I’ll be printing out my larger works. Short stories, novellas, novelettes, and novels will all be printed. And with a red pen in hand, I’ll get my work in better shape. Better than I have been able to do up to this point.
Featured image taken and owned by me. In fact… it’s one of the red pens I’ve been using.