Many writers might expect to see a section titled “Revisions” in this Toolkit under “Fine-tuning and Troubleshooting,” alongside “Grammar and Punctuation,” “Editing,” and “Proofreading.” But revision is not one of the last stages of writing-it is not fine-tuning your essay before submission. Instead, revision is a vital part of the writing process, involving the movement of sentences, paragraphs, and even entire sections to different (but more effective) places in the essay. It even involves the removal and replacement of such elements of the essay.

Revision-if we take the word apart, we can see the key to understanding this process: “Re-vision,” or “seeing again”-involves challenging ourselves to look at our written work from many different angles, to distance ourselves from our position as writer, and try to look at our essay as a reader, even a skeptical reader. When we do this, we often gain a perspective that reveals the ways in which our writing fails to accomplish its goals. Having seen how our writing fails, we are then better equipped to develop strategies to make our writing succeed.

It’s far from easy-in fact, revision is consistently the most difficult part of the writing process for many writers, not least because writers are reluctant to surrender any of the hard fought text they’ve sweated to get on the page.

But revision is also the key to writing success-with effective revision strategies as a part of your writing repertoire, you can improve the quality of your writing more than focus on the rules of grammar will ever allow you to. See for further discussion of the benefits of revision.

One effective strategy in revising is to make your essay more manageable. Find out more about a useful technique for breaking an essay into more easily manipulated chunks.

For a set of useful questions to consider when revising, go to, or visit for another useful checklist for revision.

For a more detailed look at the purpose of revision, as well as useful tips for revision, visit Dartmouth University’s online Composition Center.

©2004 Capella University

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