10: Tips for Revision

For some writers, revising their written work can be a lonely process, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some additional techniques to help you revise your writing.

  • It’s easy to forget that writing is a process and that you need to see your writing through several drafts, requiring patience and persistence.
  • The more you revise, the clearer and more fluid your writing may become. Try to keep some detachment from your writing, so you can be open to changing it.
  • Revision may serve to help you think further about your topic, to make yourself as clear as possible and to undo mistakes. Revising forces you to dig deep and pull your best ideas together.
  • Remember that revision comments from your committee can be varied according to the style of its various members.
  • To keep track of various drafts, you may want to print out each draft on a different color paper or save as separate documents.
  • Leave editorial changes for last—start by working on clarity and organization. Revising takes stamina, and while you might get bored or tired of find it difficult, just anticipate that this can be part of the process of revision.
  • When you return a revised draft, consider including a cover letter that refers back to the reader’s previous comments and outlines what you have revised.

Identify your writing and revision resources:

  • Your advisor and committee members: be clear with them about which point they wish to see your drafts and revisions, and what they expect from your revisions.
  • The Writing Center: outside readers for help with all revising tasks. http://writing.msu.edu
  • Graduate Writing Groups: start your own group or join an existing group of peer editors. http://writing.msu.ed/writing-groups
  • A fellow doctoral candidate: trade work with other students in order to give each other feedback as you proceed.