Polishing

For me one of the most difficult stages of the writing process is polishing.  The reason why I find it challenging is because I never know when I should be “done” with a piece of writing and I can never be sure if it is “perfect.”  I think I focus on these elements for a few specific reasons: I am a perfectionist so I tend to pick at my writing even if I am satisfied with it and I am also a huge advocate for the revision process—for me, no piece of writing is ever “done.”

This obviously presents a problem for me being a full-time graduate student.  Although I usually do not procrastinate on assignments, I do tend to “over revise” (if there is such a thing).  If I have two weeks to write a three-page paper, I will spend two weeks on it.

My typical writing process is as follows: I freewrite in order to get my thoughts out on paper and usually do not read my writing until the next day.  At that point, I dissect it in order to pull out concentrated moments of “brilliance” from which I expand upon (usually I do more research at this stage when warranted).  I then walk away from the prose again and revisit it the next day.  I then revise the paper a million times!!!

I suppose this is not the worst writing concern one could have, but it does effect my time management.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Comments »

 
  • Janet Dengel says:

    I think that’s actually great that you keep working on a paper, rethinking and revising. That’s always much better than saying, “Oh it’s good enough!” I have one question: When you get a paper graded and returned, do you still work on it, revising with the professor’s comments that you agree with? THAT’s when it’s ready to send out for possible publication!

  • Nicole Wittenburg says:

    Alison,

    I agree with Janet on that last point! If you are worried about time management, maybe you could develop a revising schedule? For example: Day 1: Development. Day 2: Organization. Day 3: Proofreading, etc. And just stick to that schedule and don’t look back. Maybe that would be worth a try?

  • Kristine Witko says:

    For me, one of the most difficult things about writing is also the revision process but for a different reason–I’m often so hesitant to make global revisions. I usually revise as I write the paper, so once I finish the conclusion, I feel like I’m “done.” This mind-set comes from so many years of writing essays last minute and not having the time to make any real changes. It was only when I started Montclair that I really began thinking of writing as a process and when I gave myself the time to work on an essay in stages. However, I’m still working on detaching myself from my drafts, even though I know that everything can be improved/changed/taken in a different direction.

 

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>