The Value of Revision

It’s easy to start having a high opinion of your writing, especially when people are contacting you for help or when you’re the only “writer” in your work group.

One of my creative writing classes this semester is called Autobiographical Writing. While memoir writing is not required in the business world, this class has helped me focus in on the meaning behind small details as well as reminding me of the value of revision. Recently, my classmates and I met in groups of three and spent a few days critiquing each other’s drafts, looking at voice, theme, coherency, diction, detail, and syntax. These peer critiques usually don’t enhance ego; while I figured out some of my strengths, I also discovered more weaknesses.

But don’t we all need that sometimes? It’s easy to start having a high opinion of your writing, especially when people are contacting you for help or when you’re the only “writer” in your work group. Don’t slip into this mindset. Similar to finding grammar mistakes after your third proof through a draft, you can’t always nail your writing the first time. (In fact, you usually don’t.) Even when you’re in a rush, make some time for revision. Leave your writing for 10 minutes while you wash some dishes or walk around the block. If you can go back and forth on the piece with someone else, take full advantage of this luxury.

It’s hard to do this, and I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always set aside a lot of time for revising. But that’s why I’m writing this blog post: rather than just lecturing you, I’m trying to remind myself as well. (So for the record, I went through this blog post about four times before posting. Just in case you were curious.)

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