Why You Must Revise, Blast It!

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To get published, or to be published.

Even if your goal is to self-publish, revision is a crucial step in writing any book. Writer’s Digest offered me this advice this morning in my in-box:

In her book, Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose says that “…for any writer, the ability to look at a sentence and see what’s superfluous, what can be altered, revised, expanded, or especially cut, is essential. It’s satisfying to see that sentence shrink, snap into place, and ultimately emerge in a more polished form: clean, economical, sharp.”

Despite that the vehicles carrying your writing to the market are changing every minute—whether you’re Tweeting, blogging, submitting to online/print publications, pitching conventional publishers or planning to self-publish—the cream still rises to the top. Your writing has to be edited and rewritten until it shines. The competition has never been tougher, and that’s why it’s important your work is vigorously self-edited and revised before you ever submit to editors or agents. Learning to edit and rewrite your own stuff is more crucial than ever.

And just so you know, you face competition whether you publish yourself, or ink a deal for a publisher to pay for the paper and ink. Even if you have the skills and drive to create and publish a book on your own, making something people want to read — that requires revision.

So get to it. There’s a lot of help out there.

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