The last few days I’ve worked on revisions in Google Docs and Highland 2 for different projects.
You get an expected word salad on your screen when collaborating on a virtual document that tracks changes. It takes a few extra moments to parse what you’ve actually written. Small changes can have outsized influence, interfering with the legibility of a sentence or paragraph. But I can get past that pretty quickly.
Even when the markup is more subtle, like the revision mode in Highland, there’s a false sense of security that comes from looking at something that shows you what you’ve changed.
“Oh, I already revised there. It’s probably solid enough.”
When I used to print drafts out and mark them up in pencil before heading back to the keyboard, the friction of looking between two separate documents made me re-evaluate every change. I always found more tweaks and changes I wanted to make.
I’m not about to call for abolishing digital revision tracking — It makes remote collaboration possible.
Still, additional friction helps me slow down and make sure I haven’t missed an opportunity to put my best work forward. I appreciate that.