Hey there, Dear Friends and Gentle Readers! How are things out there in “Writing Land?” Not so bad, I would imagine, when compared with “Revision Land,” I would imagine. Most people love the writing, and hate the revising, am I right? Revision doesn’t have to be scary though. In fact, it can be fun! This week, I’m going to share with you three invaluable tips for making revisions a little more fun and a lot less painful. Let’s jump right in, shall we?
1. Read your work out loud.
This is the simplest way you can improve what you have written and yet it would seem that most people are hesitant to do it. I’m not saying you should read your work in front of an audience. Far from it. What I’m saying is you should wait until you are all alone with a nice cup of coffee (or tea, or wine, you know, whatever calms your nerves) and read your work out loud to yourself. This will highlight most of the grammatical and spelling mistakes that your eyes and your brain automatically gloss over when you are reading silently. You will be amazed at the silly little mistakes you find doing this, not to mention the slight improvements you can make to your sentence structure and overall syntax. Just try it once. I bet you’ll be glad you did.
2. Trade your work with a trusted friend.
Revision is the hardest when you don’t know where to begin. Have a friend whom you trust to be genuinely critical of your work to critique your story, and give you some feedback. Then you will know not only where your weaknesses are, but also where your strengths lie. If at all possible, find a good critique group and work with them on a regular basis. The best way to learn to critique and revise your own work is by working on critiquing and revising the work of others. Just remember that if you are in a group you have to maintain mutual respect – otherwise the whole thing will deteriorate. However, a good critique group can be a writer’s greatest asset.
3. If at first you don’t succeed, revise, revise again.
Know that revision is not a one and done process. That sounds daunting doesn’t it, but don’t let that get you down – really that’s the fun of it! You get to work on it like a puzzle until you get the words just right. After all, writing isn’t supposed to be easy. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
So, there you have it. Those are my three tips for revision. If you’re going to call yourself a writer, you have to revise your work. You can’t just go around submitting first drafts. People will laugh. It’s not a good look, my friend. Our commitment to craft is what sets us apart so let’s not shirk our responsibilities and slack on the revision, okay? We do have a reputation to uphold, after all.
Of course, that’s just my opinion though. What do you think about revision? What about my tips? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading, guys! Now, go Write Like a Rock Star!
Joyce Ann Underwood is a blogger and essayist. Originally from Crescent City, Florida she spent her childhood on the back porch listening to the old-timers tell stories. This ignited a passion for nonfiction storytelling that she honed while studying creative writing at the University of West Florida. Her poetry has been published in the creative journal, Kairos and on the website HIV Here and Now. Her essays have also been featured on Offbeat Home. She blogs at www.firstpersonnarrative.com and joyceannunderwood.blogspot.com.