I use colours to edit pages of manuscript.
Without them I’d feel like I’m too close to a final outcome. The books I read don’t have pink and green in margins, so I’m still miles away, there’s still time to make this not read so poorly.
Colours let me feel that I’m not correcting myself but suggesting to myself. I’m not stepping on any toes, it’s just this purple thinks that maybe an ‘and’ would be best here, and maybe this blue pen thinks you should get rid of this horrible description of the feeling of the air that day.
I’ve regressed to my schooldays, not long past, when colours meant I was doing work. Rainbow study notes instilled confidence. You highlighted that textbook? What a star.
Then again, on days when colours make me feel like an amateur – the amateur that I am – I bring out my fountain pen and smug ink container and I cross out lines in bold smudgy ink and I rewrite them in a Moleskine notebook in illegible cursive writing. Then I sit back and think I’m doing such a good, professional job here that surely this novel is close to being done.