I liked Murray’s use of the verb “detach.” He used this verb when he wrote “They must detach them-selves from their own pages so that they can apply both their caring and their craft to their own work. ” This stood out to me because it reminds me of the importance of reviewing and revising one’s writing objectively, almost reading one’s work from a stranger’s point of view. While I think this process is helpful, I don’t believe that a person can be completely unbiased or somehow render the erase the mind of the words that were written. Also, I don’t think that most students have the time to revise like Ray Bradbury, who “supposedly puts each manuscript away for a year to the day and then rereads it as a stranger.” My view on revising is that besides self-revising, it is also critical to share one’s writing with others to receive constructive feedback.

I think revision will always be a part of writing. Most of the time, we don’t just type everything that is in our head out on the sheets. There is always some kind of filter that exists in our mind to help us with preliminary elimination of some useless material that should not be put into writing. So in a way, the first draft is already revised. Any additional revision can be made by filtering out additional information in our mind that we come up with spontaneously that will help us express our ideas in a more accurate way.

I believe that one of the most important things about revision is overcoming the stress that comes to our mind when we know that a particular sentence could be better, but it will take time and effort in order to make it so. While we may be willing to make this kind of sacrifice when writing something as significant as the Common App essay, we may not want to contribute to such a degree in our classwork. However, I believe that with experience, the process of revision will gradually become more instinctive and natural to undertake. I believe that the ability to revise is also a skill that can be built with practice.

Another important aspect about both writing and revision is the atmosphere that they require. When I am writing, I would like my room to be as quiet as possible, because I will be annoyed by every distraction, which always interrupt me in my stream of thoughts. However, I have heard that for some people, writing in a Starbucks table is most conducive for ideas. I feel that for them, although they are surrounded by a chatty atmosphere, the noise may actually calm them down and focus on their writing, though the smell may also factor into that. In general, I think that we need a comfortable atmosphere when we are writing or revising, so that it becomes easier for us to unleash any whim that may contribute to bettering the piece.


QSR1: Thinking Critically

“The writer must learn to read critically but constructively, to cut what is bad,
to reveal what is good.” (Murray, 28)

I think Murray’s use of this word in terms of revision is for emphasis on the thought process during revision. I believe he is trying to say that when writing a piece, you must think very carefully and constructively when revising it. One of his main messages in his piece is that, essentially,a true writer’s work is never truly done. He portrays this message well when he quotes “The maker’s eye is never satisfied, for each word has the potential to ignite new meaning.” I think, with this being said, while also taking into account his overall message of a true writer never really being satisfied with their work, Murray is saying that thinking critically when revising is a must. While revising for things like spelling and punctuation are necessary on a grammatical level, it’d be reasonable to assume that Murray is specifically talking about the structure and ideas in a piece when he refers to “revising while being critical”. On page 29, Murray begins to break down exactly what writers look for in their writing and how they look at it when revising. He uses italics to emphasize exactly what he’s talking about; those words being “audience” “form” “structure” “development” “dimension” and “voice”. Once again, it’s reasonable to assume these are the specific elements of writing pieces that he is urging the reader to look into, which ties back into him asking the reader to think critically when revising. It’s easy to get lost in the revision process, busying yourself up with double-knotting loose ends that don’t really require your attention. However, when thinking critically, you would of course prioritize looking over certain elements of your work, and then save whatever time you have left for said seemingly trivial aspects of your work; I believe those aspects that are important to work on are the ones Murray listed, seeing as though he legitimately explains why writers should focus on those aspects when revising in his piece.

The Beginning In The End

“To produce a progression of drafts, each of which says more and says it more clearly, the writer has to develop a special kind of reading skill” (Murray 27). 

The general connotation writing holds is that of visionary artistic expression. Essentially, the pathway into the mind of the author. Students of literature can invest hours studying and appreciating writing. Yet, writing a paper can be argued as the most dreaded aspect of being a student. This ironic phenomenon can be explained by the process of writing itself as elucidated by Donald Murray in “The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts.” Murray brings to light the significance of revision through denotative diction. He facilitates the idea that writing has infinite potential and should constantly be refined to unveil the preeminent piece. Throughout the piece, Murray constantly uses the word “draft” to describe the piece of writing. Murray believes that “To produce a progression of drafts, each of which says more and says it more clearly, the writer has to develop a special kind of reading skill” (Murray 27). Through this Murray inculcates the concept that writing is an evolving process. A writer starts with a blank sheet of paper and through this approach cultivates an impassioned piece of writing. The word draft is key to this because a draft is the preliminary version of any piece of writing. Repetition of the word “draft” through Murray’s description of the revision process subtly suggests that during any stage of metamorphosis a draft holds immense prospective for a more cohesive version to be chiseled from the previous draft. It sets forth the concept that “A piece of writing is never finished” (Murray 30).  

To effectively implement this, a writer must develop the eye of an analytic reader. For revision, in-depth and thorough comprehension of the writing is essential. Under the ensemble of a critical reader, the writer must disconnect from the writing and acquaint with it as a presumptive reader. As a reader, the sole connection to the writing is through the text. The process of how the words made it onto the page is obscure, creating a limited attachment to the writing. Removing these connections facilities, an evaluation of the text that is critical of the writing process and beneficial to the overall betterment of the writing. Only a writer can valuably criticize their writing because they are the only ones who understand the ideas that are being expressed in entirety. For a reader “the end” is the culmination of the idea. On the contrary “the end” is the actual beginning for a writer. Hence, “the end” does not exist for writers because conceptualizations are not definitive. The journey of a writer is arduous and extensive. Yet, embarking upon it is exhaustingly rewarding. It’s no wonder that students dread it.

Critical Revision

“The writer must learn to read critically, but constructively, to cut what is bad, to reveal what is good.” 


In “The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts,” Donald Murray shows us the importance revision has on writing. Throughout this article Murray uses the word “critical” showing us how important it is in the revision process. While doing revision of your first drafts, it is essential to be as critical as possible in order to catch all your mistakes. Murray goes as far as to say “writers must learn to be their own best enemy.” By being extremely critical towards your writing you will be able to shine a light on everything that needs fixing. Some writers even say that no piece of writing can ever finish being revised, but by being criticall you can come as close as possible.  

Revision is to writing as frosting is to a cake, without it, it would be incomplete. Revision is different than actually writing because you are only critically fixing and correcting your written draft. While on the other hand, in writing you are trying to get down as many related ideas and thoughts down before they slip your mind. Hence, most first drafts end up having mistakes on almost every line. Revision then helps organize that raw first draft polishing it up over and over until it’s as close to perfect as writing can be. 

While undergoing the vigorous process of revision there are many key parts to remember. In Murray’s article he quotes Nancy Hale who says that the writer  “should be critical of everything that seems to him most delightful in his style.” This shows us that you have to revise the most critically toward the parts of your writing you feel most comfortable with. Eliminating any chance of bias towards your work. Although one might think it would be a good idea to let others check your work over for you, it’s actually not. They might not try and revise it critically enough, and will let you off the hook too easily missing important mistakes. Another valuable part is to try and look at your draft as if you are a stranger. This also helps you not have any bias towards your own writing. At the end of the day every aspect of revision is important to the overall goal of creating the best piece of writing possible. 

Revision plays a major role in the big picture of the writing process. The goal of the process is to have your writing as close to perfect as possible. In order to do so, we have revision. It gives you the opportunity to keep correcting and making your original drafts better and better. In order to get there you have to be critical yet stick to your original ideas and maintain the flow of your writing. Revision is what takes an average story, article, or even fairytale and turns it into an award winning piece of writing. Murray shows us how even famous writer Roald Dahl said “By the time I’m nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least 150 times.” We can learn from this that no matter who you are and what you are writing, revising your work will always lead to improvement.  



“It is far easier for most beginning writers to understand the need for rereading and rewriting than it is to understand how to go about it” (Page 194).

Revision is one of the most crucial elements in any writing process because it is only when one takes the time to go over a literary work that they can create something that will be worth the time and effort of the intended readers. In the article “The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Manuscripts,” Donald Murray notes that it “It is far easier for most beginning writers to understand the need for rereading and rewriting than it is to understand how to go about it” (Page 194). This statement implies that most people in the early stages of writing might be aware that it is necessary to revise their manuscripts but many might not know how they should conduct the process of rewriting. An analysis of Murray’s quote reveals that the verb understand, which has been used twice, is intended to describe the state of being cognizant of the importance of both rereading and rewriting. In turn, the words rereading and rewriting point to the idea that revision is a significant aspect of writing. Thus, one could deduce that it is only when a piece of writing has been checked through severally and the necessary corrections made that it can be deemed ready for consumption by the target audience.

A different approach that can be undertaken in an attempt to uncover the importance of revision would be to consider the differences between revision and writing. As stated earlier, new writers are often aware that they need to rewrite and reread what they have written but most may not know how to go about the two processes. Revision thus comes in handy because it provides an opportunity for both upcoming and seasoned writers to go over their manuscripts and to make the necessary adjustments as they seek to create compelling literary works. Alternatively stated, revision comes after the writing process but it is just as important because it enables the writer to invest their time and effort into critiquing their work so that they can create a perfect or near-perfect final draft. Therefore, it would be better for one to not write at all if they do not intend to revise their work and make it error-free.

Murray reinforces the importance of revision by noting that a writer must be his or her own worst enemy. According to the author, a writer must “detach themselves from their own page so they can apply both their caring and their craft to their own work” (Page 196). He further notes that detaching oneself is not always easy but that it’s an effective way of revising because it allows writers to accept criticism and to respond by applying unbiased judgment. From this perspective, one can conclude that it is only when a writer is critical of their writing that they can produce pieces of writing that have higher chances of being regarded as masterpieces.

The Inevitability of Writing

“The maker’s eye moves back and forth from word to phrase to sentence to paragraph to sentence to phrase to word. The maker’s eye sees the need for variety and balance, for a firmer structure, for a more appropriate form. It peers into the interior of the paragraph, looking for coherence, unity, and emphasis, which make meaning clear.” (Murray, pg. 30)

In the passage, “The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts”, Donald Murray describes his own writing process and brings insight into the general writer’s process with examples.  His emphasis is on revision and gauging when to look for completeness in your work.  The above quote is where the title comes from because “the maker’s eye” is what he believes to be the determining factor for quality revision.

I will be choosing “moves/movement” as my specific verb because it is referential to the eye but also to the overall process of writing and revision.  “Move” has a few different definitions, whether it’s a physical action (eyes), a metaphorical action (progression in writing), or a philosophical action (time).

Murray goes so far as to imply that a work without revision is “amateur”.  A major issue in writing for academics is that many assignments are “one and done”, but that mentality stunts the development of writing skills.  Serious papers and essays are not static documents but rather ever-changing and evolving, subject to feedback and criticism.  Studies must be peer-reviewed, and theses must be defended to gain credibility, so it would be foolish to not hold other writing to that expectation.

To support your work, Murray says that you must find your information with supporting meaning and then read it to see if it makes sense.  This also includes the principle of knowing if your work is interesting or engaging to the audience.  Writing is an unselfish process, it is more about the satisfaction of the readers rather than the author.  Form, structure, development, and dimension are also part of the criteria to understand if the information conveyed is appropriate and specific enough.  Before moving to the latter stages, Murray has a few remarks about the author’s voice.  He notes that it’s important to see your work as a new reader because it’s not enough to leave subtext or an underlying emotion without actually pointing to it.  The author usually doesn’t have the benefit of explaining what they really meant to every individual reader.  This is not unlike how song lyrics can get misunderstood.  He then outlines the elements of coherence, unity, and emphasis as the final goals.

Murray makes it clear that he believes that revision is inseparable from the actual writing process, that writing can’t be accomplished without it.  He describes the mentality that one must have when approaching revision.  He believes that most writers have an issue with being paralyzed with self-doubt and being unable to move forward.  A conclusion that he reached is when one must learn to seek out and emphasize the good parts of the work.  Some writers work in a different way, doing revision while writing.  I certainly find it easier to work this way from paragraph to paragraph, though it’s important to realize if your work has good flow between ideas.

At a certain point, you must choose a time to finish rather than revise to no end.  If you never finish writing, if you never choose a place to end, then nobody will ever get to read it.  Murray uses the flow of time in a clever way to end the article, “A piece of writing is never finished. It is delivered to a deadline, torn out of the typewriter on demand, sent off with a sense of accomplishment and shame and pride and frustration. If only there were a couple more days, time for just another run at it, perhaps then …”.  Leaving a thought unfinished is an emphasis on the reality of our physical world.

Why We Have to Revise

“Writers try to be sure that they anticipate and answer the questions a critical reader will ask when reading the piece of writing” (page 29).

Throughout the reading,  I realized variations of the word criticize, this included: critical, critique, critically and criticism. The Oxford Languages definition for critical is “expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work of literature”. Criticism should happen after the writing process in a stage of revision. Writing is a way to express one’s self and revising is refining what you want to express. Writing is a physical form of your thoughts, a raw visualization of your mind. Revision comes into play when you want to share your thoughts and make sure they are portrayed in a way that represents you well. Humans are naturally critical based on their ideas. This creates a virtually never ending revision process because every person can interpret your work in their own way. Criticism is a part of society; it is why people follow social norms and shy away from speaking out. Movies, art, fashion, etc. are all criticized and each share the common task of showing expression of someone or some group of people. Writing is not exempt from this criticism. Not only do others criticize you, but as a member of society you criticize yourself based on the thoughts of other people. Since criticism is such a part of human culture, writers already have an idea of what needs to be in their writing. According to Murray some of these things are information, meaning, structure, dimension, and voice. Murray speaks of audience, form and structure and through this shows just how much of the revision process is focused on the readers. Writers must, “put themselves in the reader’s situation and make sure that they deliver information which a reader wants to know or needs to know in a manner that is easily digested” (page 29). 

Every mind has its own unique way of thinking and language is a way for everyone to understand each other. In the revision process, writers also make sure that their writing is of a certain standard in their perspective language. The most important part of the revision process is making sure your message is what you want it to be. Revision makes sure your ideas are fully thought out and written so others will not only be able to read it but understand it as well. Writing has so many components to it. You can write in a journal for yourself or write for others to relate to it or learn from it. Revision helps you figure out what you are going to do with your thoughts. What are you going to say? Who are you going to help? What story are you trying to tell? Revision is a constant process of asking yourself “what is my mind trying to say?”. Our thoughts are the purest form of what we mean and through revision we get closer and closer to that pure form using language.

Reread and Rewrite

Most writers scan their drafts first, reading as quickly as possible to catch the larger problems of subject and form, and then move in closer and closer as they read and write, reread and rewrite” (Murray 28).

Throughout Donald Murray’s piece, The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts, we encounter many explanations of what revision truly is. Revision is a way of correcting and improving your own writing to get the best result possible. In the article, Murray expresses that, “Writers must learn to be their own best enemy” (page 27). The word enemy might be confusing being that our enemies tend to bring us down. However, Murray is explaining that we should be able to critic our own work in a constructive manner. There are many aspects that go into becoming a better writer. Revision is just one of the first steps. 

Murray uses many different verbs to describe revision, but two that stood out to be in particular were “reread” and “rewrite.” These verbs stood out because they were used repetitively in the reading. The act of revising is just that, reread your work over again and deciding what needs to be changed or rewritten. Both go hand-in-hand with one another because as you reread you tend to rewrite. One of the most important parts of revision is making sure the writing will connect with the audience. At the end of the day, most writers write so they can form a connection with the readers. A writer should always alter their writing in a way that will best inform the reader of the information being presented and that will create the best sense of entertainment. When writing, you want to hook your readers, making them want to read all you have to offer. I believe revision is part of a much larger process when becoming a skilled writer. A great writer must be fully committed to the process of writing and have patience because the process can take a great deal of time. The ability to critic your own work is just one of the many aspects it takes to be a professional writer. 

Murray did a great job in differentiating what it means to be an amateur writer and a professional writer. I thoroughly understood the importance of revision and how self-criticism will only benefit you in your career. The repetition of verbs and adverbs, which explained what revision is, demonstrates how Murray wants his readers to grasp the importance of the whole process. 


Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this” (page 28). 


Revising is the part of the writing process that, to most, comes to mind last, yet it is the most crucial [part]. “I might revise a page twenty times.” Roald Dahl, the popular children’s writer, states, “By the time I’m nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least 150 times…Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this” (page 28). The word good modifies the following word writing and helps reveal a sizable amount of information about the term revision. The quote itself refers to revision as the essence of all good writing. Revision is the backbone of any and all successful works of writing. Revision is the idea of re-examining and altering a piece of writing, allowing for said piece to read more fluently and overall, for a stronger final product to be produced. Writing in a sense, is the precursor to revision. Once a writing piece is fully revised, it is then, and only then, that it can be considered finished (although some may argue a piece of writing can never be finished).

The most important part of the writing process is revision. We are our best critics and revision allows us to be just that; the most important part of revision itself, is the opportunity to be able to go back and improve on our past mistakes. Again, revision is the backbone of the writing process. Without it, a piece of writing can never manage to get close to achieving its ideal state… or to a point where the writer has given his/her full effort. Revision requires a great deal of effort and attention to detail. The writer must critique his/her own piece of writing until there is practically nothing left to critique. Some writers, like Dahl, revise their writing multiple times, resulting in the trashing of dozens of pages in order to achieve the “perfect writing piece”. When a writer criticizes his/her writing and holds it to a degree higher than his/her readers do, that writer has a much greater chance at writing an excellent piece compared to one who does not put in as much effort into the revising process.

“The writer must learn to read critically but constructively, to cut what is bad, to reveal what is good. Eleanor Estes, the children’s book author, explains: “The writer must survey his work critically, coolly, as though he were a stranger to it. He must be willing to prune, expertly and hardheart-edly” (page 28). One who is overly critical of his/her own work will find much success in the writing sphere and excel. However, it is possible to critique “too much” and ruin a wonderful piece of writing. When a writer begins to go down the path of revision, it is important not to get too carried away. Only critique what does not match the vision you have for your writing. One’s piece of writing is at it’s best when it has been treated properly and revised with care.

Develop, Develop, Develop

“The element on which writers may spend a majority of their time is development.” (page 28)


Development is mentioned in the passage by Murray on numerous occasions and has the purpose of ensuring that the writing is clear for the reader. To fully develop a piece of writing, it may take several attempts until the work is fully completed. The definition of fully developed to me is when there are no questions that remain unanswered in our writing.  that Murray says  “Each section of a piece of writing must be adequately developed”. Adequately stuck out to me because the author is working to get their point across to the reader and has to develop the work until they have satisfied that criteria. If a piece of writing is not fully developed, it is severely lacking in the information that every reader is looking for and will likely keep them focused on the work without quickly losing interest. Development in writing can be defined as when the piece of work has been properly balanced and reads clearly in an informative way. Revision and development are not only exclusive to writing, I know that many musical artists have to work so many attempts on one verse until they have reached the final product they are satisfied with. Revision in this case can be applied to both musical artists and writers, as well as artists, movie directors, and other professions that rely on perfection in their work. There is no certain way to gauge if a piece of writing is complete, but each writer has their own method. Development and revision can be intertwined in writing because they both lead to the same end goal.  When developing a piece of writing, It may take several times until the writer is satisfied to finish their work. 

In my personal work, I would say i’m not the most advanced writer, but I like to plan out my work before I begin writing as it allows me to think about each section instead of going head first into an assignment. Revision is the most important element in the writing process because of the perspective after their work is “complete”. While Revising, as Murray says “ Most people think that the principal problem is that writers are too proud of what they have written”. This mentality while writing is detrimental to the whole writing process and it does not allow the writer to get the most out of their work from the thoughts of others who can provide helpful insight. The best writers are not satisfied with their first draft, these writers take the first draft to criticize their work and through this, revision is able to occur and their best work is a result from the revision process. I believe that the process of developing a piece of writing is just as important to revision as without a developed piece of writing, the whole entire work will not resonate with the reader. While revising, getting the criticism from someone else is just as important as the reader revising their own work. The more criticism results in overall better work. A work that has not been revised is full of errors, grammatical flaws, and other issues that can be easily fixed. 

In High School, I would occasionally take the easy route and skip multiple revisions in the attempt to get the stress of a paper off my chest. Unknowingly, I was ultimately hurting myself instead of trying to be the best possible writer that I could be. A personal experience in writing in which I have begun a piece of writing in High School would be when I wrote my College Essay. The struggle of completing a successful college essay involves numerous attempts, the process of writing the essay involves deleting and adding many points after they have been reviewed by counselors and other teachers. This relates to the Murray reading as we all worked towards creating our best work possible to be admitted into our dream colleges. This article by Murray has allowed me to realize that writing is a long strenuous process, but in the end, the work pays off knowing that every ounce of effort was put forth onto every assignment.