Revision: A Necessary Evil

I’ve never liked revising my work. When I spend a long time on a paper and turn it in thinking it’s perfect, I don’t like somebody telling me all the things I could improve. This is especially true when there is no incentive for revision, like a better grade. I always think, “Why cause myself stress about what I’ve done wrong, when nothing good will come out of changing it?”

But then I think about my experiences at my high school newspaper. When I started sophomore year I was given no training on writing news articles. I would spend days writing one short article, get it back covered in purple pen marks, revise it, turn it in, get it back, revise it, again and again and again. I would re-write every article at least 4 or 5 times. It was exhausting. But by my senior year, I hardly needed to make any changes. I had come a long way, and had learned a lot about writing journalistically.

I notice the same things in Writing 220. With each draft my writing improves and my argument strengthens. Revision was especially important with the Why I Write paper. I spent a long time on my first draft and did not want to make any changes. I thought “revision” would mean writing the whole paper over again. But, my peer group was able to show me where my writing was not clear, where I had made connections between points in my life they did not have enough information to understand. In the second draft, I knew to provide more details and explanations so the reader did not have to guess the significance of each point.

What I’m trying to say is, I have a love/hate relationship with revision. Though I don’t like my hard work being criticized and critiqued, paying attention to my teachers, my peers, and my readers is the best way I’ve found to improve my writing.

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