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Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Motivation to Revise

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You did it! You finished a draft of your document—huzzah! And now it’s time for the often-skipped, less desirable part of the writing process: revision. You might be wondering, ‘why should I take time to revise when I just spent all this time writing a draft in the first place?’ Well, I’m glad you asked! Here are some motivational arguments for and approaches to revision!

Why Revise?

Revision is an opportunity to take the great thing you wrote and make it better. And it can always get better! So, if you like your work to really shine, revision is for you!

Not feeling like you have time to revise? Or maybe you just feel like your draft is good enough already? Revision is still for you! Doing a quick re-read can still help ensure that you hit all the main points requested by your assignment prompt. It can also ensure that you remember to cite everything and avoid plagiarism. Plus, even small steps at revising can help you communicate more effectively and hone your writing skills!

How to Revise

It can be tough to open up that paper you just finished and say, ‘alright. Now let’s revise!;. It can feel discouraging. Or at least less than super exciting. But it doesn’t have to! Here are some revision strategies to help motivate you.

1)    Make a paper review appointment. By making a paper review appointment, you will have the opportunity to have someone else look over your work and provide feedback and next steps for revision! This takes some of the mental work and discouragement away from the revision process 😊.

2)    Try a reverse outline. Make bullet points of the main points in your document in a separate document or side comments. Look these over and compare them with your assignment—do you answer all the questions? Do you repeat yourself anywhere? These are good areas to revise if so!

3)   Take a break. Make sure to build in a day or two away from when your draft is due so that you can take a break from it and come back with fresh eyes. It can be really motivational to look at something fresh and remember all the great work you did, and things you want to fix or change will jump out at you more.

Still need more motivation?

If you’re still feeling the revision blues, check out some of these resources and other approaches to revision:

·       In particular, I recommend the Writing Goals module to help focus your revision ideas

·       Review some steps and tricks via our revising webpage

·       Watch our Strategies for Revising, Proofing, and Using Feedback webinar


What helps you revise? Let us know in the comments!

Claire Helakoski lives in Michigan with her family. Claire has worked at Walden for over 5 years and you can read many of her previous posts on the blog, as well as find her over at WriteCast as a cohost. 

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