I remember when computers first came out (yeah, it’s dating me). Until then, I’d done all my writing either by hand or on a typewriter. Newsflash: I make the same types of “typos” when I write anything out by hand.
So the computer – absolutely! I didn’t have to spend hours retyping pages to correct the many typos, and make more typos to replace them. I didn’t have to fuss with correction fluid. I could just save the document, and then run (eventually) the spellcheck.
It’s a great tool, especially for writers, but I also find that it makes people generally lazy.
It also makes us busier, which is a strange combination to say the least.
It hit me the other day because I deal all the time with people who “trust the software.” They sign legal documents with barely a cursory glance (in some cases none), not even checking to see if what they’re signing is correct.
Imagine it’s a corporate timesheet program. It fills in the times automatically for you, eight hours a day, as a courtesy, but you have to make changes when you had a doctor’s appointment or took leave.
Yet, I’ve run into people who will somehow think the software connects to their brain and can tell they went on sick leave, so they will sign the document as is and then are puzzled when they find out its wrong.
“I thought (the software) was right!” they said.
When I started hearing about the massive amounts of submissions that agents were receiving, I wondered if the same problem existed. Part of being a writer involved the hard work of physically typing on a typewriter on a piece of paper. That was probably enough to scare aware some people who weren’t really serious.
But now the computer makes it easier. Too easy. Some people who would be discouraged by the amount of work a manual typewriter are writing books. They’re probably puzzled when they get rejections for multiple errors.
“But the spell check was turned on!”
Software is training us to rely on it, rather than to use it as a tool and rely on our brains.