“Revising Improves Writing” by Joan Y. Edwards
Revising improves your writing.
1. Each time you revise your manuscript, say to yourself, “I am getting better and better.” Get a special hat or shirt to wear when writing.
2. Write something. Rewrite it. Let it rest for 7 days in an incubation tray. Then get it out and read it over again. You’ll be amazed at the ideas that come to you. It’ll seem like you’ve never read it previously.
3. Read your story out loud. You may hear the mistakes you don’t see. Record it on tape and listen to it. Make notes of what you want to change. If you make a pdf file of your manuscript, it has a way for the computer to read it to you.
4. Form a writing group with 2 or 3 other people. It can be an online or an in-person group. Listen to what others say. Ask them to tell you things they don’t understand in your story. Make notes. You want your meaning to be clear. Clear communication is essential to learning and peace among people.
If you are feeling very sensitive about a story, save that story for another day or ask your writing group if they will just listen to your story without commenting on it.
Do not ask people what they think of your story if you are not able to handle a YES or a NO. You have to honor their answer when you ask them for their opinion. Try not to take it personally. Just because people do not like your story, it does not mean they do not like you.
5. When revising, choose to change only those items you think will add to the story. If someone tells you, if I was writing the story I would…you don’t have to do it. You are the writer of your story. Ultimately, the choice of words in your story is up to you. Only change what you believe in 100%.
6. Use the computer to revise, if you have one. That way you can save a copy of what it was first. How you changed it second. And the third revision…before publication. Save each version on the computer with the date. Some people write their first drafts better with pencil or pen. Honor the way you work best.
7. Even authors who have had books published find things they want to change in their stories. Be pleased with how you have improved from the beginning. Be kind to yourself.
8. Reward yourself for each step you take. For each time you revise a story, put a penny in a jar, enjoy your favorite game, or serve popcorn as you read it to others. Don’t wait for someonelse to reward you. Reward yourself.
9. Believe in yourself. Say, “I am a writer. I am an author. I am a published author. I am a paid published author. I am an author of a book on the New York Best Sellers list.”
10. Set your goals. “Hitch your wagon to a star. Take a seat and there you are.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Focus. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from your goal. If people say that you can’t do it, show them you can. Use your talents to reach your goal. Never give up, no matter what. You are the only one who can stop you from reaching your goal.
I’d love to hear from you. Has revising helped you become a better writer? If you have any questions or things to share, please leave a comment.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.
Updated September 19, 2019