Revisions, Revisions, Revisions

In my opinion, revision has been the most useful part of this class. Revision has taught me the most about how to become a better writer. Revision feels refreshing; it feels like clarity. It feels as though I am truly learning something. Picture yourself sitting in a large lecture hall, quickly scribbling down everything your professor says out loud. Although you do not know what she is saying, or what her words mean, you keep writing. You write down every word, every definition, and every side note she makes, trying your best not to miss a beat. But is this truly learning? I think not. I think true learning is being proactive and interactive. It is thinking about our own thinking. It is working with our writing as if we are working with a partner, colleague, or friend.

Revision allows us to take our own work, and improve it. It allows us to take what we had once wrote, and reorganize our thoughts. It makes room for cohesion, for clarity, and for change- good change. This semester, I have learned that revision is nothing less than a great thing. Particularly, in revising my Why I Write essay, I was able to pinpoint the weaknesses in my argument. I was better able to see what outside readers could not. I learned ways to improve my style, strengthen my thesis, and further build upon imagery and emotion when necessary. It was not until after I had finished revising the essay that I was better able to see where I went wrong in the first place.

When tackling the revision process, I suggest removing yourself from your work. Do not think about what you like about your paper, or what you think are the best parts of your paper. Instead, have the opposite mindset: What in your paper can be improved? Where are there gaps? How can your argument be strengthened? Thinking critically in this way is what will get you the best results.

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2 thoughts to “Revisions, Revisions, Revisions”

  1. I like the idea of taking a step back when revising work. I know I get attached to my writing and don’t like changing my favorite parts, even if they don’t help my argument. I’m definitely going to try looking at my papers in a different way when I revise them; thank you for the suggestion!

  2. I was thinking about your comparison of revising a paper to working with friend, and I think there’s definitely a lot of truth in it. In order to keep your own morale high during revision, you have to take note of what you did right the first time, just like you would if you were critiquing someone else’s work. At the same time, if you really care about improving what you wrote, you have to be thorough, objective, and constructive. As you revise, you learn from the mistakes you make and in turn grow as a writer.

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