Edits and Revisions

My least favorite part of the writing process is revising. I’m someone who doesn’t like to do anything halfway. My rough drafts aren’t just vague ideas thrown at a page in hopes that something readable will eventually emerge. I like to revise even my very initial drafts to try and make them as good as they can be. And when I submit something for peer review, it means that work is something that I’m proud of. So when it comes time to get that work deconstructed and rebuilt with the help of my peers, it’s hard for me. I get instinctively defensive of my work, and I don’t want people to dismiss my effort without giving it enough time or thought. In short, I’m distrustful of other people’s edits and revisions.

I understand that this is a flaw. Every piece of writing, no matter how good or how bad, needs a fresh pair of eyes and a little bit of revision. It’s important to be able to sit back and let others tell you what your piece needs to improve on, no matter how difficult that is to do. Something that I’ve been trying to do in an effort to fix this problem is to make sure I find peer editors and reviewers who I really trust and whose opinions I value. I think having that ethos behind the reviewers gives them an extra level of credibility to the point that I’m willing to take their advice at face value. I need reviewers whose revisions I will react to with interest rather than instinctive defensiveness. And I think I’m in the process of making that work. Revisions are definitely important, and it’s time I give them the attention they deserve.

2 thoughts to “Edits and Revisions”

  1. Zach,
    In my writing, I’ve developed the same issue with creating a true rough draft and have a difficult time presenting a draft that I want others to revise. I think one big driver behind this habit (besides the issue of pride that you mentioned) is a reluctance to go back and completely overhaul something you spent hours working on in the first place.

    The philosophy when I (and it sounds like you as well) sit down to write an initial draft is: if I’m spending the time to do this now, I might as well do it right. Thus, when it comes to having this draft revised by others, it can be almost aggravating to have people critique portions of it. The danger here is thinking that you can totally wrap your head around a topic in the first sitting. I’ve had countless times where I’ve turned in final drafts that were essentially my first draft, then look back and realize that there were ideas I completely missed because I never revisited the piece.

    This reluctance to revise is definitely a tough thing to overcome, but it sounds like this semester has helped you realize the opportunities that revision presents in writing.

  2. Zach,

    I totally understand where you’re coming from because I’m the exact same way. My outline basically serves as my rough draft, and my “rough draft” feels closer to a final draft than anything. When it comes time to hear revisions from people who haven’t put nearly as much time or thought into the piece as I have, it’s only natural for me to question the validity of their points. The difficult part is understanding what you’re dismissing because it’s simply not a good idea, and what you’re dismissing out of pure defensiveness.

    One thing that helps me with this is distancing myself from the work a little bit once I’m done writing the “rough draft.” I give it a few days or a week, and I find that when I come back to it, I’m not as protective of it. We put as much effort in as we do because we want our work to be great, so we owe it to ourselves to give the revision process its due time, even if it can cause some dissonance. As much as it can be hard for me to stomach revisions, I’m usually grateful that I went through with them in the end.

    I hope this helps!

    Good luck,
    Jon

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