The Necessity of Revising

keep-calm-and-revise-11I had a student a couple of years ago who described herself as a “one-sit wonder.” That is, in all of her previous schooling, she was quite adept at pounding out a more than serviceable paper in one sitting. Once she arrived in law school, she realized that style of writing was probably not going to work. (And, to be fair, it probably shouldn’t work in any other setting, either, but I do realize that it’s the way most students do write.)

There’s rarely anyone who can pound out what should be considered “final copy” in one sitting. Really good writers realize that writing is a process; the point of that first draft is to give you something to revise. In the writing process, you should be leaving behind a trail of drafts, some of them quite rough, before you finally arrive at the polished final copy.

Why is it important—no, necessary—to revise?

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Michael Sam and the NFL Locker Room: How Masculinities Theory Explains How We View Gay Athletes

footballLast year, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player in the National Football League. Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh and final round of the draft. He survived the initial round of pre-season cuts with the team, but was let go when the team had to make a 53-player roster. He was picked up by the Dallas Cowboys and played on the team’s practice squad. After seven weeks with the Cowboys, Sam was released and remained unsigned the rest of the season.

Sam’s coming out and his subsequent drafting and playing in the NFL caused quite a stir. According to one Sports Illustrated article, one NFL player personnel assistant said, “I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet.”

But why?

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Want to Be a Better Writer? Then Read

reading-a-bookGood writers are good readers. And they’re readers of more than just internet posts; good writers read a variety of books, from fiction to nonfiction and from classics to contemporaries.

It is through all of this reading that we can see what words other writers use and, importantly, how they use them. We can absorb certain turns of phrases that we may later find useful, and we can “hear” the different voices writers use to speak to us. If we’re moved by some particular writing, we can try to figure out why and learn how to incorporate those ideas into our own writing. Reading also improves our vocabulary. It’s easy, when you’re reading, to gloss over an unfamiliar word, but the better thing to do is to look up any word you don’t know. But perhaps one of its biggest and best perks: reading is great stress relief.

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