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The Struggles of Editing and Rewriting

Posted on November 19, 2018

In Joseph Harris’ “Rewriting,” he describes how the process of rewriting and rethinking is harder than it seems. He compares rewriting to “playing chess, or serving in tennis, or teaching a class” which are all difficult things to do when you first begin. I agree with his claim because the editing and revising process are both hard for me to do. After I have written something down on a draft, changing my thoughts aren’t as easy as it seems. I would always blank out whenever I had to edit and revise because I did not know what changes I had to make in order to improve my paper. I feel like it would be easier to edit and revise someone else’s paper because if you were editing you own, you would be so used to the ideas what you have written, but for someone else’s paper, you start out with a clean slate. Due to this, you are able to read and edit without knowing what’s on the page beforehand. Harris brought up the topic of planning when revising. He states that “What I do hope to have shown here, however, is how the local task of editing sentences and paragraphs differs in tangible and practical ways from the more global work of rethinking an essay. If in tracking the changes you’ve made to the draft of an essay, you can’t point to a series or pattern of changes linked by an idea, then you haven’t revised, you’ve only edited.” I never really thought about creating a plan to revise. I would always just edit and revise wherever I go or in chronological order down the page. I feel like creating a plan would only help with tracking you thoughts and changes but I does not really do much for me. I think this method would not help me as much because it is tedious and it takes a lot of work to do. This reading really made me understand the difference in revising and editing which I didn’t understand much before.

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