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Most Writers* Don't Like Editing & Revision

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

It seems in every one of the classes I teach in creative writing, while there is a curiosity about editing and revision, few of the inexperienced* writers in the group have the mindset to really want to learn to do it and apply that knowledge in a serious way. And, yes, the only writers in this category are the inexperienced ones. REAL writers (in my view) know rolling up your sleeves and scrutinizing your first draft with clear eyes and a cold resolution to make it the best it can be are the ones who invest serious time and energy into polishing their material so it represents their finest work at this point in their writing career ('cuz we all know our next book will be even better!).

I have learned to love editing and revision - replacing a fuzzy noun with a concise one, coming up with a vivid verb instead of a weak one, or excising a beloved passage that may have won your heart but really adds noting to the story (that last takes guts!).

I have offered a manuscript editing and revision course where I teach - because I love the subject - but it only attracts enough students to "go" once in a while. On the other hand, my "Get Your Book Published NOW!" course always is a go. It seems the world has plenty of writers who believe their work is done once they've run "spell check".

In student work and, of course, still in my own, I see jumps in story, misplaced phrases, passive voice, weak description, and spaghetting material that needs to be chopped, and repetitious material that is, well, repetitious, and on and on. The difference is I will do something about it. Most of them won't.

The problem is that most inexperienced writers, I suspect, just want to get that one big idea inside them put down into a manuscript and published. They have never been taught what to look for in their writing to improve it beyond correcting misspellings and respecting the basics of grammar. For many, they feel they are too old or don't care enough to bother to learn editing and revision in any kind of depth. I get it. There are a lot of things I could learn to do better - plumbing comes to mind - but I just don't care that much.

If, however, you DO want to improve your writing toolbox and learn foundational techniques of editing and revision, check out my upcoming online offered through Yavapai College.

Just go to the Workshop and Help page for a full course description.



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