Many years ago, when I was more of a novice writer, the word “revision” affected me much like the sound of a nail being run across a chalkboard, or like the irritating drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet. Somehow, I had the idea that to revise a writing piece invariably meant that I would have to re-write it. However, that is not true. In fact, re-writing is simply that… it is re-writing, but a revision… that’s a whole different beast. Granted, a revision can encompass a lot. It can move from minor alterations, to something much more drastic, but it is taking a deeper look, almost with different eyes. It is a RE- VISION. Honing in on all of the elements with a fine tooth comb, smoothing out all of the rough edges, and tossing out what’s not clear.
As important as seeing good grammar, syntax and punctuation, which is the heart and soul of editing, it is imperative for writing to be clear and concise. Where editing puts everything under the dissecting knife, revision is a revolution of thought, and re-working all of the elements to birth something new–something better. Therefore, a revision is as much about clarity as it is good use of the language. In reality, the draft is really a first attempt, but the revision is about making sense out of the writing. This also encompasses establishing your writing voice, which is paramount. In fact, it is probably one of the most important things for a writer to do. Your voice must shine through the writing, and make the reader feel as if he or she is in a conversation with you.