Strategies for Drafting and Revising

Strategies for Drafting and Revising

While composing a draft, writers benefit from frequent pauses to reread what they have written. Rereading often leads to further discovery — adding an example, choosing different words that unpack or separate ideas, filling in a gap in the logic


of an argument. In addition, rereading frequently leads to substantial rethinking and revising: cutting, reorganizing, rewriting whole sections to make the writing more effective.

You have to work problems out for yourself on paper. Put the stuff down and read it — to see if it works. — JOYCE CARY

As a writer, I would find out most clearly what I thought, and what I only thought I thought, when I saw it written down. — ANNA QUINDLEN

Rereading your own writing in order to improve it can be difficult, though, because it is hard to see what the draft actually says, as opposed to what you were trying to say. For this reason, most writers also give their drafts to others to read. Students generally seek advice from their teachers and other students in the class because they understand the assignment. Published writers also share their work in progress with others. Poets, novelists, historians, scientists, newspaper reporters, magazine essayists, and even textbook writers actively seek constructive critical comments by joining writers’ workshops or getting help from editors.

I was lucky because I was always going to groups where the writers were at the same level or a little better than me. That really helped.


[Ezra Pound] was a marvelous critic because he didn’t try to turn you into an imitation of himself. He tried to see what you were trying to do.

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