I Am Going to Need More Tape

I don’t know if my brain is like this because I am a knitter, or if I am a knitter because my brain is like this, but I have always been the sort of person who finds it easier to work things out when they are live and in person, right in my hands.  This makes working on the computer my least favourite way to try and sort out something that needs to be seen holistically – as a whole thing.  If I’m working on a fussy knitted thing that has multiple charts, the first thing I do is print them all out and put them down – taping them in the order they will appear as a knitted item.  I might end up working from the charts in the book or the pattern, but I have the sort of mind that’s just going to make fewer mistakes if I can grasp the big picture before launching.
It might maybe speak to my love of spreadsheets and lists and schedules, and it certainly speaks to the way I edit.  Behold. I give you the system for editing the new talk for Sunday night at Stephen Be. (And it’s pretty good, I must say. You should come.)

Scissors, tape, a black marker, a pen. I print what I’ve got, then start working through it, reading out loud, crossing things out.. adding things, making notes.  When I find something that should be cut – I literally cut it out. When I find a bit that belongs somewhere else, I cut it out and put it where it should be. It lets me see the whole thing at once – and it lets me gauge the length, literally in metres.  When I’m done, I make virtual changes in the document, then print it out and start again. (What you see here is a second pass. The third will be way less brutal.) When I think it’s done – I stand up, in my proper shoes and read it aloud, just as I’ll perform it for all of you. I time it too… to make sure it’s not so long people will run out of knitting or won’t need a second mortgage to pay the babysitter. 

It works for me, though I wondered how unique this system was.  Earlier today – thinking just that, I sent the picture to a some friends. I wondered if anyone else needed scissors and a fixative to get through editing?  Our Lady Rams of the Comments (who is a real person, who exists outside of the comments as well) responded with the most clever answer ever.
"Sit down. Drink your coffee while I explain that "cut and paste" is a word processing metaphor."
I laughed for an hour.  Yeah. I guess I’m not the only one using the system.
Speaking of a system, see the green yarn on the table?

It’s IndigoDragonfly Ultra MCN in regeneration – and knitting it into Afterlight is going to be my reward.  You know. When I get this all taped together.

110 thoughts on “I Am Going to Need More Tape

  1. Same system on a wall used to work well for papers, although I have long since transferred to the more virtual process.

  2. Around our office we would call your system “Doing it Old School”. It was how we used to put documents and financial statements together back in the old days. We had one extra step. We would tape the papers together with “magic tape” invisible to the photocopier then photocopy onto a new sheet.

  3. My Dorm Tutor at MIT, while she was writing her dissertation (doctoral Candice, Chemistry), told me that the only reason that she was getting her degree was that she learned how to cut and paste in kindergarten. Those skills were very important in getting her huge paper done! Of course, this was 1985, and Macs were brand new, and there were few, if any, IBM-PC clones, which didn’t have a WYSIWYG editor, but Macs did (but a primitive one). She wrote her dissertation on a typewriter, and cut and pasted the diagrams in!

  4. I was about half way through your second paragraph, and my thouht was, “She knows where ‘cut and paste’ comes from, right?” 🙂
    I used that system on my living room floor for university papers.
    I still use that system when I have seminars to plan and deliver.

  5. When I saw green on the table in the background I couldn’t figure out if it was giant fake asparagus or broccoli. It took me a second before I realized you are not decorating with vegetables. You decorate like I do, the yarn is out, and it is beautiful and I need a moment to dream of when it will become.

  6. I thought the term “cut and paste” originated in the newsroom, where editors were, in fact, busy taking scissors and glue to proof copy…

  7. I too physically cut and paste my charts in the order I’ll be knitting…just makes sense! Gorgeous pairing of yarn and pattern.

  8. Gorgeous colour. I have only one question: how do you cope with knitting Amy’s sweater in superwash? I mean, superwash has this tendency to grow ginormous when wet. Either one ends up with a garment of elephantine proportions, or one is forced to through the whole thing into the dryer, after which it loses its crispness and shape. What’s your secret?

  9. You should have seen me doing my writing tasks at exams…I used (and still do when I need to write something that is more than two pages) many sheets of paper, making notes, put down sentences, then putting the pages in order…
    The yarn is goegous…

  10. I’m a technical writer, using all sorts of amazing technical tools to do crazy formatting and all sorts of funkiness.
    I still print things out and edit with a colored pen (or 4). My brain works better this way.
    Enjoy playing with your paper.

  11. Cut and paste is NOT a word processing metaphor! It goes back to the days of hand typesetting, when pieces of text were cut and pasted just as you do now.
    Also, spaces between lines were made with molten lead. Exciting times in the old print room in those days!
    I figure the more angles from which you view your own writing, the better. We all know what we *meant* to write, so it’s a trick to see what we *actually* wrote. Printing, standing up, lying down: whatever it takes. It’s all good.

  12. Okay, probably everyone else already know this, but I’m pretty sure there is no cat in your house – because your editing system would be toast. Immediately.
    The green is scrumptious!

  13. One of my very favorite American writers is Eudora Welty – Delta Wedding, etc., – and one of my favorite photographs of the dear departed lady shows her standing at a library or dining table in her home, the typed pages of her project spread before her, scissors in sight.
    I use the same method myself when the need arises; it simply works best for me. jdu

  14. I too wondered about the cat – is Millie still with us? Mine would never let me cover the couch/chesterfield like that without it becoming a play area. I used index cards in college and shuffled them as needed…like you, come of us need to see it in what is these days called “hard copy”. Yummy yarn

  15. Laughed myself silly when I saw the “cut and paste” pictures because I do the same thing! I need see things all at once and physically pick things up to move them around.
    ‘Just made a pretty shawl in that same color of green. (Shalimar Breathless, Sprout) Love it!

  16. Looks like an excellent system! I should have used that in my BA…hahaha
    Although Lady Rams is correct, and you’ve got it the right way. I totally understand the need to hold and read it; I always pick up different things in print than I do on the screen, although my ‘major’ edits occur on screen instead of wasting the paper.
    Good luck! Wish I could come listen to it. 🙂
    Katie =^..^=

  17. I am a US patent agent, so I write patent applications and read lots of patents. Even though the US patent office is completely electronic these days, I find I do better with editing and reading hard copies. I also like having a model of the invention if one is available and feasible. Same with knitting — I definitely prefer having things written down so I can write on, scribble out or highlight as necessary.

  18. Once upon a time I was a “paste up artist”. Before there were computers, blocks of type and images were cut and pasted onto boards in preparation to be made into printing plates. Not a metaphor– a physical reality and craft and a really great source of
    income for artists.

  19. Love the cut and paste. I’m not sure if it’s the picture or not but one of the skeins looks lighter than the rest… I hope I’m wrong because it si beautiful yarn.

  20. Steph
    Not passing judgment, just finding it amusing that you possess the smallest carbon footprint of anyone I’ve ever heard of…yet you’re a literal cutter / paster with real live paper lol 😉 Keep up the creativity and never lose your spunk -we love ya for it.
    OOH IndigoDragonFly is such a nifty name and that color ….. oh my!!

  21. You are probably going to want to reach through the computer and slap me, but, even though I love spreadsheets and schedules, I am a “wing it” kind of person when I give talks. I know the subject of what I am going to talk about, have my visuals ready to hand around and am given a time to keep it under. So far, I’ve never ran out of things to say (like I ever would) and I have had great questions and people saying how much they liked it. It might help that I have never been shy. If I had to go through that much work in order to give a talk, I’d never do it.

  22. I’d never write anything if I had to do that. (Ditto for old-school indexing. I never realized until a couple years ago that Index Cards were called that for a reason.)

  23. Love the literal cut & paste job! You’re making that sweater for me, right? ‘Cause I really, really, really love that color of green & I really, really, really like that pattern.

  24. I’m using the same system to edit my NaNoWriMo novel (that and lots of post it notes). That sweater will be gorgeous! I love that green.

  25. Cathy W at 3:16: you are right! The term “cut and paste” originated in newspaper journalism, my once-upon-a-time dream career. In the “olden days” of my high school newspaper we did, indeed, put the paper together that way.

  26. That is a gorgeous shade of green.
    Now, I don’t quite do your method, but in college I was the queen of index cards. I would put the topic or theme I was trying to prove onto a card (and any subsequent subthemes onto their own cards), and each quote and relevant source would be written onto separate cards and then I would organize my cards into a mostly coherent paper and write. I wonder if this method would work for attempting to write fiction. I certainly produced better papers than one would expect for the last nature of most of my college writings.

  27. You should see how I organize my lectures! In addition to literally cutting and pasting, I also use colored paper and sticky notes for things I need to emphasize. I’ve always been a visual organizer, except when it comes to my knitting. I sort of take the instructions on faith.

  28. Scissors, tape, and a photocopier: don’t knit without them! (and I love the smell of the paste from high school journalism classes)

  29. Nope, you aren’t the only one. My spousal unit never understood why, for a course that I would take online, I kept printing things out…. or even writing things down instead of typing them all the time….
    I’m a tactile person, I need to see and feel in order to fully absorb things…

  30. Good to know that old school cut and paste/tape is alive and well. I’ve been really worried about the long term viability of the 3M company after you decided not to do another Sock Summit. I think you personally held the profits up and the stock price steady with your purchase of post-it notes. Now I am reassured that there will be an endless purchase of tape for your editing. Whew!!!
    See you Sunday if not earlier.

  31. It’s not a metaphor! I work in magazine publishing and plenty of art editors will talk about how much they hated desktop publishing software when it arrived – one told me she always wanted to reach inside the monitor so she could still physically move things around.

  32. Yep, back in the college days (pre-PCs) I did the cut and scotch tape thing on my papers. I can now do it on the screen, however when I have to read/edit something I normally print it. And, I’m not nearly as organized for speaking — I make an outline or notes and practice what I’m going to say. I probably would do a better job if I wrote it out then maybe made an outline from the full text.

  33. If I’m having a hard time getting the whole picture of something I write, I have to do something very similar. I either print it out and cut up paragraphs like you’ve done or I’ve been known to put the content on index cards and shuffle them around as needed.
    It was really helpful when I was writing my master’s thesis and huge chunks of the content were citations. I ended up just printing out the citations that I knew supported my thesis and arranging them manually all over the floor.

  34. If any of you have ever seen “Becoming Jane” with Anne Hathaway, Jane Austen is depicted as doing exactly this! With teeny tiny scissors…so you know you are in good company.
    Your yarn is a beautiful springy green!

  35. LOL! Cut ‘n Paste! So Stephanie, now that you actually”cut & pasted” are you going to put it all together and run it through the Xerox machine with carbon paper? 🙂 Love that color of yarn. And here I thought you were showing it as a giveaway.

  36. I’m using knitting as incentive to finish (or… ahem… *start*) my speech. Glad I’m not alone in this.

  37. Welcome back to old school. Cutting and pasting talks, speeches or essays is the only way to go. You’re in great company! Only the best people do it this way.

  38. Are you sure yuou don’t need a bulletin board for all of that? Then people could sit on the couch. By the way, when it is laid out like that, it is easy to lose pages, or have them get mixed up.
    Just a thought.

  39. Yes, yes, yes. I am a massive geek who uses (and loves) computers many many hours a day. And yet… I proofread MUCH better on physical paper than I do on a computer. Although an eReader is a close second to actual paper (and it’s almost exclusively what I read on for pleasure). Don’t know what it is about the computer but I miss things.
    I’m also a “whole picture” knitter. I’ve seen patterns for complicated cabled things that have one tiny chart for each cable and then the written instructions say when to use each cable. There is just no way I would be able to knit that unless I recharted the whole thing so it was all on one chart.

  40. My sister did it just like this in 1977, except it was typed on paper with a typewriter. It was her Master’s dissertation on American (USA) utopian communities in the 19th century. Included Amana, Oneida, Shakers, etc. After all the snip and tape, she typed the whole d… thing all over. And again. Not sure we had Wite-Out then.

  41. When I do edits on fiction, I print the whole thing and tack huge sections at a time to the wall, then run around with coloured markers like a crazy person for a bit, and some string. To be honest, usually not string. Usually scrap yarn.

  42. When I was in grad school, I had a couple of papers that just would not come together. One in particular was due to the fact I had so MUCH research I couldn’t narrow it down to being coherent.
    I finally just spent a couple of hours typing everything I had into the computer (normally I wrote a a reasonable first draft by hand then typed it in and edited.) Then I printed that sucker and went at it with the scissors and tape.
    This freed me up to see what I actually had and allowed me to create an understandable flow to the paper. When I was done it was pretty good and I was very happy with it.
    I would love to be at your talk but Minn is a bit of a haul from California for a weekend.
    Have a great time.

  43. I used to do pre-production printing (anything up to running the press). Cut-and-paste was often literal, either on the artboards or with “stripped” negatives (adding punctuation marks was especially fun with negatives).
    I *really* like your system and used something like that for preparing yoga classes with papers and a clock, glasses, and pencil spread out around my yoga mat.
    Hope to hear your talk in Seattle sometime!

  44. Definitely not metaphoric. When I worked at the local paper in composition, they brought you the typed words you needed for the ad, you ran them through a wax machine (restickable sticky) cut them apart and composed the ad by sticking them onto specially sized graph paper. The pages were pasted up the same way. Now I have a letterpress, no paste involved :^) that yarn is Very Green, what a neat pattern!

  45. I used to volunteer on a little magazine, back in the day when “cut and paste” was literal. It’s a metaphor now, but it used to involve scissors and adhesive.

  46. Went to Rav to look at Afterlight. I checked the price for the pattern, and for some reason, read
    “$7.00 USED.”

  47. I am comfortable with the computer and use it at work, but I still think index cards are the way to go for organizing my ideas for a paper!
    Mary K at 7:35, it’s 7 US Dollars.

  48. I teach creative writing to 3rd and 4th graders, and “story surgery” is one of my favorite revision techniques. Just as you do, we cut up the (photocopied) story and paste it onto clean paper, removing the parts that don’t work and leaving space for revisions/additions, etc. I don’t know if you’re in good company or they are!
    Happy talk. Can’t wait to see progress on Afterlight in that stunning green.

  49. I really like the neckline, and the general shape of the sweater, but I’d make it a bit longer, and make the sleeves full length. Looking forward to seeing your version in green.

  50. It’s great to find a method that works well, isn’t it.
    The yarn is a lovely green colour, and a very fitting reward. Enjoy the rest of your speech organisation and the anticipation of the knitting to come.

  51. Oh, Stephanie. As many have said before me, “cut and paste” had a literal life before computers arrived. I was a technical editor for engineering consulting firms, and any production dept. had to be wizards with X-acto knives and tape.
    I remember one day when the production folks were too busy to handle a deadline project, and I noticed that two typists were “cutting in” a correction. One of them was wielding the X-acto knife while the other was holding down the edges of the paper! I didn’t want to startle them, so I held my tongue until the knife was safely out of the way, and then explained how dangerous that was. I felt like a hero when I introduced the first word processors to my dept. in about 1972.
    Love the yarn!

  52. In educational terms, you are a “visual learner”! It is exactly what it sounds like and a very creative way to be.

  53. Well, sometimes you just have to see something laid out in front of you to know whether or not it will work. I still write some things out by hand, then label with red ink and arrows and move it all around that way.
    So is your talk going to be a three sofa cushion talk or more of a love seat?

  54. Our Lady Ram is, in fact, a real person and a brilliantly witty one at that. She also makes extremely lovely, soft hats for those of us with unexpectedly naked heads due to unfortunate life events and makes us laugh a lot.
    I like your system. Nearly as much as I like the yarn you have there.

  55. Yes! Yes! I often had my students in grades 2 and 3 do the same thing with their creative writing pieces during Writer’s Workshop. That way you don’t get bogged down in all the corrections and arrows! It works!

  56. That’s how our second graders do it, so there are at least 65 other people in the word who do it your way.

  57. When I was a newspaper columnist, back in the days before you could tote your laptop on vacation and WiFi your copy from anywhere, my newspaper employed a 24-hour dictationist. You’d write your story, then call the number and “file” the story–read it into the phone. But you had to have a reasonably clean copy to read from so the dictationist would have a steady pace to work with (that is, unless you were one of those virtuosos who could dictate smooth copy off the top of their heads). I remember sitting at a picnic table in the Bahamas, on winter break but still on deadline, writing my column out longhand, then fetching hotel tape and scissors to get it in the proper order. . .and my then boyfriend, now husband, watching me and exclaiming, “Oh, that’s why they call it cut and paste!”

  58. My HS newspaper was also prepared by cutting and pasting, so complete pages could be turned into offset printing plates through a photographic process. I didn’t cut-and-paste my term papers, tho. Only my rough, handwritten, full-of-my-own-illegitimately-bred-shorthand outlines would get that treatment. This was so I (usually) only had to type the thing once on a manual typewriter! (Didn’t get an electric until my college days. I’ve had new and younger coworkers wonder why my typing sounds like I’m beating the computer keyboard with a hammer.)
    The combination of yarn color and sweater pattern tells me our Yarn Harlot is treating herself to a new sweater! Much more fun than embroidering gray pinwheels onto a gray sweater. . .:-S
    And, Steph? Do you ever wear your IMproper shoes while reading one of your lectures or lessons to Joe? Something tells me he’d find that very entertaining, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

  59. OMG, what a lovely reward!
    I think I need to deserve a reward like that (especially since I’ve already bought myself more than enough rewards since the end of January to last an entire year).
    Seriously, that is one terrific looking sweater…

  60. I still like the old fashioned kind of cutting and pasting because you can see where you’ve been. Word processing c and p loses all the progress iterations.

  61. Say hello to this hands-on person. If I have to edit, I print the text, if I have an easy cable knit in my mind, I draw it roughly and this while I have a mind that thinks almost everything in pictures. I might even have trouble not to laugh out loud during lectures if the person makes a minor language mistake like cheesed instead of chafed a leg, I literally see him rubbing his leg with a chunk of cheese. So, to me, your approach of preparing is natural, I can not imagine another way to do it (well, I really totally failed the a2 times b2 is whatever and the 90 degrees or 30 degrees cornered things or what else, but my corners and points with patchwork are perfect as can be, so, have fun Sunday, computer screens are just not “for real”to me too.

  62. I firmly believe that you can’t edit as well on screen as with the printed word in front of you. I may not take the scissors to my work but I’m definitely a fan of a good red pen!

  63. I print my stuff regularly, because I “see” much more clearly on paper than on screen. I use markers and sticky notes and even write additions on the back of the previous page. But actually cutting and pasting?!? Not for some hundred pages… 😉
    The green is so yummy, I wanna have it!

  64. This is why I have started using Scrivener to write (http://literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php). I use the Mac version. It is a word processing program made by writers for writers, and makes it much easier to do this in your manuscript. Also especially good at keeping track of a thread in a longer document. Very affordable too. They will let you download it and try it, and there’s a good short video explaining it. I’m not one for learning new software, but this was easy.

  65. Hi Stephanie, this is a somewhat unrelated post. I am a loyal reader, one who has not yet had the pleasure to see/hear you in person. I often read in your blog that you are out and about giving talks but your schedule isn’t updated on your blog. I know you are busy, but maybe something to add to your long to-do list. Thank you for giving so much of yourself already, it is greatly appreciated.

  66. I am not that organized! I would rather cut and paste on the computer.
    Love the new yarn and the pattern that you chose. Happy knitting when you are done editing!

  67. I second the commenter who would like to know about your talks BEFORE they happen, just to make it likelier that we could some day hear you in person. Also please mention if ever Luis will be coming along for show and tell. Though I realize that posting schedules is another chore you don’t have time for.
    I looked at this pattern and the yardage. Does it count as a Stockinette Stitch Marathon?

  68. When I was in a master’s program (10 yrs ago) I would use this approach, on the living room floor or (if time was short) on the bed, which would mean I HAD to finish. Unless you have two monitors, which I have at work but not at home, making substantive changes like this is easier for me when I can literally see the whole thing.

  69. I just got out of my horse and buggie and read your post. Oops! got to go, my corner grocer just knocked on my door to let me know a call came for me there. Those darn automobiles and telephones are just a passing fancy and will never take off! LMAO

  70. I always jot notes on index cards to figure out the structure/order when I’m writing. When I think I’ve got my thoughts together, in logical or pleasing way, I type. Then I print and scribble or cut.

  71. And just for counterpoint (and for anyone who’s starting to wonder if they’re weird for not doing this) – I never write this way. I tend to decide on structure first. If I can’t hold the order of things in my head, or if I’m in the middle of something and feel dissatisfied with the order, I might type a brief outline at the end of the file– or write it on a piece of paper in the days before word processing– but I’ve never cut pages apart to physically rearrange things. In speaking, I either talk from slides or an outline (or both)- in the old days I wrote out index cards. But the index cards followed the outline- I never used them as part of the editing process.
    We all figure out what works for us, then run with it! Though I do like the visual element for estimating the length of the talk.

  72. While I consider myself a child of the digital era (I learned my letters on a computer keyboard) and I love working digitally for most things, my “big picture” activities, when I’m actually wrapping my brain around a whole, still looks much like yours (except I use many colors of markers). A little advice: get leftover wrapping paper and tape everything to the back side of it. You can then roll it back up if you need to use the couch.

  73. I used exactly your system to write my Masters’ thesis — only it was 1959. “Cut-and-paste” certainly goes back to(and may predate) that time, when computers filled a large room, info only entered with punch-cards. Everything was either hand- or type-written. Reading outloud was important to be sure it made sense. As frustrating as pc’s can be, it sure makes life easier!

  74. Eudora Welty used this system too. She writes about her writing process in an essay called “On Writing.” She likens it to quilting piece by piece. I have always edited that way and found when working in a writing center, that helping students learn to reorganize with scissors and tape was a most excellent way of dealing with what I like to call “revision block.”

  75. I worked with a silviculturist who would write his reports like that. Literally longhand on legal paper, then ask one of the ladies to type them, then he would cut them apart and reorder things, then they ladies would fix it in the document, then it would come to me. UGH! old school for sure, but it was the only way I could get the information out of his head and in a readable format for sharing with the public!

  76. Well – I have to say that I think the computer world has taken a lot of credit for claiming the phrase “cut and paste”. LOLOL. The best job I ever had was when I worked at a small town newspaper. The stories were printed out on galley’s, run thru a hot wax machine and literally cut and pasted onto a blue-lined backsheet to create the newspaper layouts. It was only at the very end of my stay there that the company bought a batch of Apple computers with the capability to create the pages on-screen first. Now – 20+ years later – I still think of those days when, ex-acto knife in hand, cut and paste meant CUT and PASTE! HA!
    Anyway – you GO Steph. It’s definately easier to see when you can SEE it.

  77. LOL – I wrote my comment before I had read the others. Seems I’m not the only one with a newspaper/publishing background!

  78. As a family law lawyer I often listen to clients telling the whole story in disjointed bits and frequently repetitive. I do handwritten notes, because I am not good with a keyboard, and I want to be focused on the client, not the keyboard. My first draft is by hand, going through the pages of notes, and marking off each point that I have added to the document, with a highlighter. Sometimes two colours of highlighter. Then that handwritten draft is literally cut and paste, with arrows to the back of the page or marginal notes saying “see add-on page” for a new thought. Works pretty well for me; it got me through a BA(Hon) in English (at least 10 papers a year), law school, and thus far 32 years of family law practice. So, tape and scissors for me.

  79. I used to work in a newspaper office before PC’s and post-it notes came along. I would take a column of typed copy, run it through a machine that lightly waxed the back of it, and lay out the pages onto big blue-lined template sheets, using an Exacto knife. The advertising copy was more fun because I could use different fonts and pictures. Borders were made with various sizes of black tape. This is literally where the word processing people got “cut and paste.”

  80. Love the picture and the comments – I still use 3×5 index cards to put together a talk on plants.

  81. Nope, wrote my undergrad thesis the same way–which was a little more brutal on the paper front. I like to think it’s a productive procrastination break!

  82. I’m with you. Having everything printed on paper is easier to make changes or to refer back to a previous section.

  83. There is a reason it is called “cut and paste” – that phrase didn’t come from nowhere. I’m sure at one time “calling” someone meant going out the front door and bellowing.
    I do it a little differently. I edit on the screen for quite a bit, then print it out, bleed all over it with red marker, then sit at the PC and put the changes in, and do it again. If you know what “section drawings” are, well if I have to move a block of text to somewhere beyond its page, then it gets a line drawn around it with an arrow and a letter, and the letter gets marked where it is to go in.
    If you’ve seen what will soon become a more ubiquitous reality – the large screen systems where you can touch and drag stuff, that might (might!) take over some of this. But how long until an individual might reasonably own one – I have no crystal ball.
    If you have found what works most efficiently and effectively for you, more power to you.

  84. As recently as high school (and I’m not yet 25) I was still using this system of editing things, though my last step was generally photocopy. It’s nice to see I’m not the only one. I also have an incredible love of sticky labels.

  85. I have found another reason that confirms we are kindred spirits. You are not alone, sister.

  86. That color green is going to look great on you!
    When it comes to writing and editing, I’ve definitely got some quirks.. I have to hand write the first pass, then edit mostly grammar stuff as I type it up, then (if it’s important) print it out and chop it into bits and move it around so it actually makes sense.

  87. Funny story. I used to cut and paste newspaper text for layouts. Luscious yarn. I’m impressed that you’re going to knit a whole sweater with no. 2 needles!

  88. A pencil and a legal pad start the process. The ideas flow along the pathways from imagination through the brain to the fingertips and onto the paper. I’m a touchy-feely kinda woman.

  89. I am old enough that when I first worked on newspapers, cut and paste was a literal project and I spend untold hours rolling rubber cement off my fingers. I often write my first draft out longhand before moving to the computer but my edit work is now done entirely on screen.

  90. No need to explain. I wrote my B.A. Honors thesis and my Master’s thesis from diagrams made on white butcher paper with colored pens. I also do the thing with the knitting charts – it defintiely helps to see it all laid out. I’m sure you will be totally brilliant at your talk. Can I see it on youtube?

  91. My first “adult” job interview, which was as a nonpartisan staff person for a state legislature, started with an exercise where I was given a hypothetical task, printed out materials, extra blank paper, scissors, tape, markers, a glue stick, pencils, and a stapler and told to create talking points for a legislator. I remember being slightly stunned. It’s even funnier 15 years later to explain to new hires that yes, one form of bill drafting we still use might require them to use scissors, a glue stick or tape, and a highlighter. Rather than a computer. I love watching their mouths hang open in disbelief.

  92. I too used to be a professional layout artist using adhesive wax and X-acto knives. Computers are way less messy.
    When I’m writing a talk, I also print the final or close-to-final version out in bigger type than usual, and I write out any words I think I might misread with “cues.” (For instance I’ll write out “Fifteen sixty-two” for 1562, which prevents me from reading it as 1362 or 1862.)
    And I absolutely must read the whole thing out loud at least once.
    My cat usually comes over and wants me to pet her the whole time I’m reading, because she thinks I’m talking to her.

  93. In college, I always printed my papers out, took scissors to them, and color-coded. I would literally cut it apart into blocks ranging from one sentence to one paragraph, resort by color, and tape it back together. Then I would go and put all those edits in on my digital copy. It worked beautifully.

  94. I do this! With my most recent book of poetry, I made my husband take the three kids out for the day and then I moved furniture so that I could lay out the poems on the floor to play with order. It’s very satisfying. I don’t know what I’ll do if I ever finish my novel, though. My house isn’t big enough!

  95. Back when I used to speak/teach constantly, I would print my talk out about 5 inches wide, then cut it into pieces and tape each piece to a 4×6 inch index card. Then I would shuffle those cards around, usually laying them out on the floor, until they were just right. Sometimes, I realized that a “piece” was actually two pieces, and I’d scratch out the second piece and just hand-write it on a new card. After they were in order, I would number the cards, then teach/speak from the cards. When I used powerpoint for a lecture, I’d tape a miniature slide to the left half of the card and handwrite the lecture part on the right side.

  96. So you can see visually how long your talk will take–cool! I really like that. And I treasure those rare chances to get to see and hear you giving those talks in person. Please tell Joe thank you for lending you to us for those.

  97. Ha! Forget the wordprocessing program. I use powerpoint with the notes function turned on. I first do an outline using just the slides. Then I go back and write the narrative on the notes section on each slide. I take a quick look at the outline and the function that let’s you see all thr slides at once. You can rearrange and delete slides. After this first quick look, i print out the whole thing including the notes. Be sure to include page numbers. From the printed version, i make edits, rearrange the order, add slides, etc. then i correct the powerpoint doc. I may do this a couple times. I use powerpoint even though I may not use powerpoint in my presentation. I also know that about 35 slides will take me about an hour. You can turn the Ppt into a word doc if you want to turn the presentation into a blog post etc.
    I find that this system works well for my spreadsheet like mind.

  98. Some years ago a friend turned me on to Mindjet’s MindManager, a mind-mapping software, that I like to use for just such a purpose. Paper, tape and scissors work too, though. 🙂

  99. Oh, the familiarity of that system! I prefer to write things out that I have to read aloud, and I remember them better that way, too. So I frequently use 3×5 cards, or post-it notes. That way I can skip the scissors and tape.

  100. Every single flow chart in my life has started out as numerous sticky notes placed on the wall, then rearranged maniacally until it’s just right, then tediously copied into a flow-chart program (whatever the hell program comes with the computer). One of my co-workers saw me doing it once and dubbed it, “Vertical Twister.” Whatever works.
    I also do the exact same thing you do if a document is more than a few pages long. I can virtually cut and paste if I only have to scroll back and forth between a few pages. Otherwise I have to do it manually, THEN edit on the computer. You are not alone.

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