Benefit of the Backspace
I’ve noticed something different about my emails lately. They’re shorter. The ones I send anyway. Emails have become the new text message. It’s understood, you’re to get to the point. No one has time for you to drone on.
I guess I could consider this an insult. I mean, I’m a writer, shouldn’t they take a minute to appreciate my prose? In fact, no. I don’t have the right to expect that of anyone. Time is precious. Theirs and mine. Why should I presume to take more of it than I deserve.
Recognizing this has had an interesting impact -and not just on my “business” emails. It has wormed it’s way into my personal, ‘you just listen to me’ emails. I realized I am using backspace and cut (without paste) way more often. I find myself asking, “Does he really need to know that?” “Do I really need to say that to her, right now, by email?”
I think this may have started when I began submitting articles to websites and publications. They were gracious, but it was clear I ran on way too long. So I began cutting, leaving the meat and potatoes behind. At first, I plunked the cuts into my “clipboard” where I could see them and keep an eye on them. Because surely such beautiful prose would find its way back into my text somewhere.
But it never did. It didn’t belong. And if I needed to revisit the idea, I found I was the proud recipient of new words, better than the old.
I wonder how often a voice from beyond is whispering “edit, Wendy” and I don’t hear it. Probably because I am busy typing. But bit by bit I am editing what I write. Not just for grammar or punctuation or word choice, but for obedience sake. God knows I want to say it. He even lets me type it and get it out of my system. But who says I need to send it? I’ve said my piece, now hit the backspace button.
Kind of reminds me of the old “write a letter to the person saying what you really want to say, but don’t send it.” I guess this is just an updated version. Feels good.
And it’s amazing how much more impact my words have when I listen to my Editor. Not the evil one that strokes my ego and says, go ahead, you have the floor, but the One that says, speak as if you are speaking to me. Funny how I edit then. And amazing how much time I have to devote to the work that needs doing. It’s almost as if I got a raise, a raise in time.