Step Five: Revision

One truism about writing says, “Good writing isn’t written; it’s rewritten.” Even if you love your first draft, set it aside for as long as possible. Return to it fresh, and be critical. Poet and novelist Robert Graves recommended imagining that your intended reader is looking over your shoulder and saying, “But what does that mean? Can’t it be clearer? What’s in this for me? How do I benefit by reading this?”

You might also try reading your document aloud. This can be a good way to catch mistakes or language that doesn’t flow well.

Writers who get serious about revision sometimes find that they have accidentally memorized all or parts of a document. With the document temporarily lodged in their memories, the writers are able to revise it as they eat lunch, ride in an elevator or drive home. This may sound excessive (even weird)—but it illustrates the point that good, successful strategic writers don’t settle for first drafts.

Revision Links

Revising Drafts

Steps for Revising

Revising the Draft

25 Editing Tips for Tightening Your Copy