Sitting in "my office", a little third-floor table near a wall outlet under some lovely track lighting here on campus, I am about to write my third paper for Core Humanities, hoping all the while that my professor will look as kindly upon it as he has on my previous two papers for the class. However, when I say "about to write", it would be more accurate for me simply to say "about to commit to paper four pages' worth of stuff I've already written, edited, scrapped, re-written, and composed in my head." Almost no actual writing will take place over the next hour; it is merely a typist's challenge from here out combined with some on-the-fly copy editing as things that looked better in my head get cleaned up on the page.
Students of the life of one Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart may recognize the writing process here. Mozart composed his symphonies in his head long before he put hand to piano or note to staff on the written page. Entire movements would write and edit themselves in his mind, always in a technical style that was his own and that listeners long after the man's death in 1791 can recognize. It was as though Mozart were divinely inspired.
Meanwhile, I make no illusions as to the long-lasting nature of any scrawl I dare call literature, nor do I think for a second that anyone will praise my name two centuries or more after I'm dead. But the thought process is exactly the same. I compose papers, essays, blog posts, and what-have-you in my head and the richness of the orchestra plays itself out in my mind (who would read the audiobook of CPA By Forty, anyway? Thurl Ravenscroft is dead, otherwise he'd be my first choice...Patrick Stewart? James Earl Jones?). Once it's composed it's a simple matter of firing up the computer and getting the thing set to print. I only hope that for the reader it's more Mozart than, say, Insane Clown Posse or Miley Cyrus. I'd have to run myself through with a wakizashi if my writing were as insubstantial as pop music.