Blue Text

The article I thought I was wrapping up last week ended up needing a re-write, so I closed "Facebook 3.3.doc," opened a new "Facebook 4.0.doc," and got going. With a new outline and the experience of composing the 1.0 series (a video montage), the 2.0 series (an argument about modification), and most recently the 3.0 series (on template composition, but not enough so), things have been going pretty smoothly all week.

I sometimes find re-writing refreshing, more so than revising, particularly because my texts often tend to get messy. I'll write some kind of introduction, then another introduction beneath it, move on to a later section, cut back across the text to intro number one, find myself writing bits and pieces of the conclusion, and so on. At various points I'll re-order the whole thing, and when this re-ordering or re-framing is dramatic enough, I'll save-as the .doc with the next number in the series in an attempt not to cover my old work too much.

This week's rewrite was no exception. After writing five or six pages in the new 4.0 series I found myself in a section I had written a lot about back in the now abandoned 3.3. So I opened 3.3, found the relevant chunk of text, and copy-and-pasted it into 4.0. Only knowing what a mess I can make when I write, I decided to make the imported text blue.

Blue text, then, would serve as a marker for possibly contaminated elements from a prior series. Blue text would mean: go through this thoroughly before accepting it as part of this new thang.

So as I wrote sections and paragraphs, revised other sections and paragraphs, and continued to import possibly-contaminated bits and pieces of the latest version, blue text functioned as a simple code, within the text, of what needed attention and what was "done" or "done for now."

And though I seldom do anything "new" when I write, this new little trick became a lot of fun and totally relaxing. Back now to the processing of blue text.


  1. This is such a good idea! When I comment on student papers I do something similar, but at the moment I'm working on my MA Paper (think thesis but shorter) and need to add some pages to it. I have this fear of integrating the new text but by making it another color I have that extra visual cue to make sure the new sandwiched paragraph fits. Brilliant! Thanks!

  2. Glad ya like it! I've been using this color-thing all week and it's really working for me.