What’s the hardest part of revision?

At some point, everyone feels frustrated with the revision process. This is because revision is not an easy process — it requires you to rethink, reconsider, and reconstruct your argument over and over again, and that process can often get tedious. Click on the links below to listen to students talk about how they tackle revision frustration. As you watch, consider which approaches might work for you, which students have similar approaches to yours, and what new strategies you might want to try.

Sylvia: Personal Expectations
Sylvia talks about overcoming her expectation that an idea will be “perfect” the first time she writes it. This clip is longer, but it’s worth watching the whole thing!



A Few Questions for Reflection:

  1. What lessons can we take away from Sylvia’s experience with her paper on Cyber Bullying?
  2. What got in Sylvia’s way when it came to revision in this example?
  3. When Sylvia says “If I stop thinking about what I want to say and just find something that I have that’s good and build off of that, then I will end up writing what I want to say without thinking about where I want to go first,” what is she suggesting we should do as we revise? What does this strategy mean to you, in your own words, and what is your response to her suggestion?

Melissa: Figuring Out What I’m Saying
Melissa talks about the frustrating moment when she struggles to clarify and express an idea.



Reflect: Does a writer need to know what her ultimate message will be before she sits down to write? Why or why not?

An activity:
Find a draft of an assignment you are currently working on. Read through the draft and mark places where you feel like there is an important idea emerging that is still unclear. Take a few moments to consider why these sections are still unclear to you. Why is that idea interesting to you? Why is it important for your argument? Do a bit of brainstorming (listing, freewriting, or drawing), as Melissa suggests, about this section of your paper.


Help, I’m Stuck!
Mike, Josh, and Sylvia quickly share some strategies for getting unstuck!



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