Easy as Pie

I watch a lot of old movies, and it never fails to crack me up when writers are shown as simply sitting down at the typewriter and typing out their latest project. There's the typewriter, and there's a stack of paper. Nowhere is there any evidence of any editing or correction tools in the pre-computer age. No erasers, no red pens. The implication is that the manuscript, whether it be an article, short story, novel, or screenplay, that they typed out was what they sent off . . . and what was ultimately published.

This is bullshit. Writers don't merely sit down and bang out a project; they sweat it out by checking facts, then constantly revising, expanding, deleting. This takes a lot of thought, especially when we can't put our finger on just what's wrong with that sentence, only that there is something wrong.

There's a popular misconception that writing is "easy" work. For those who find writing easy, perhaps they are genuinely talented and can create fine prose with only minor edits. This is possible, but rare, I suspect. More likely, the manuscript will be riddled with repetitive phrases, stale cliches, and/or read like a first draft.

I'm just glad that I became a writer in the computer age. Writing is hard enough without having to do it with no edit or delete function.