Drafting to Revise

I know as I began to read Chapter Two of Acts of Revision: A Guide for Writers I was curious. I was curious as to what was going to be said and how it was going to be said. Wendy Bishop, the writer of this chapter, chose to focus on the ever growing habit of writers to write just to make it to the goal, whatever that may be. The goal could be a page length, a word count, or maybe just a deadline for when the writing is due, but these are all goals that influence the writing nonetheless. 

With each goal the writer is striving to make it to the end, not necessarily to write a good piece but just to make it to the end. Because of this habit many writers have  worked to learn how to write efficiently in order to keep up with their demand. As a college student I can atest to this. I find myself writing to reach the deadlines a lot of the time, not particularly caring too much about what it is that I’m actually writing. But that’s not how it should be. 

In writing to conserve energy, we write “just enough but rarely much more” (Bishop). How on earth can we “revise when we’ve left no room for instructive mistakes, when removing text means throwing away what we’ve barely just completed, when cutting out an ineffective paragraph means failing to meet a required minimum?” (Bishop). The answer is we don’t. We sacrifice better writing to finish the assignment in a timely manner and maintain the requirements placed for it. 

Bishops solution to this problem is to draft in order to be able to revise. She suggests writing fat drafts and memory drafts, each of which is meant to be twice as long as the final product should be. By doing this a writer gives themselves the extra material needed to be able to revise out portions of the text that just don’t make sense and need to go. By writing a memory draft, in which you read your text and then put it aside to recompose the piece, you can begin to explore different ways to write about the topics that are being explored. Because the memory draft comes from memory, it will be different. 

The use of these techniques allows for an abundance of material that can be used or scraped as needed for the final draft insuring that the required minimum is met while revising also takes place. 


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