The writing process typically sinks from view. We see the end result, but the physical act of writing might as well take place on the far side of the moon.

Which is probably for the best.

I don’t want to revisit all the sentences, ideas and ledes that didn’t work, and I can’t imagine you would either.

But this is the Internet Age, where no questionable concept goes untested for long.

Now — if you install the Draftback plugin (Google Chrome) and compose your work in Google Docs — you can play back every keystroke of your finished work.

It’s a little like watching a slow-moving literary movie unfold. (And yes, it’s as unexciting as you just guessed it would be.)

This from fivethirtyeight.com:

After years of trying to build a program, Somers realized that Google Docs was already saving every keystroke we enter. So he hacked Google Docs to play documents back to their authors, materializing on the screen with every stutter-step inherent to the writing process.

In its latest form, Draftback is a Google Chrome extension that can reach deep into the archives of any Google Doc you have editing rights to, make sense of all that writing and rewriting you innocuously poured into it, and beam it right back to you, backspaces and all. It doesn’t matter if your document was created before or after you installed Draftback — the keystrokes have been buried the whole time. Draftback can unearth any fossil.

The author of the article (Chadwick Matlin) graciously allows us to replay the creation of the article (window at the end of the piece).

I didn’t endure past the first few minutes, but I was gratified to note Mr. Matlin false-started a few bazillion times.

And here I assumed every other writer simply sat down and typed the lede wholly intact.

Keep writing, Tom Chandler.