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. 

4 thoughts on “Reread and Rewrite

  1. I like the automated sound of this phrasing: “Both go hand-in-hand with one another because as you reread you tend to rewrite.” I like the word “tend” here, it implies that when you reread you just tend to rewrite. I think one really important part of revising though when we attempt to do it is to think about whether we are genuinely rereading or not.

    Since we wrote it, we tend (ha!) to “fill in the gaps” with our memories of what we wrote or probably wrote. So we actually don’t fully read what is there. This can be good if we are reviewing notes or something to remember stuff but it can be *bad* for revision. That is why reading aloud is really helpful when revising. Forces us to slow down and make sure we are seeing what is really there.

    So, I agree, when I am rereading I do tend to rewrite because I interpret what is there and think of different ways to write something and I try to do it (painfully, sometimes, but there is some attempt). However, I have to make sure I am genuinely reading and rereading first!

    Enjoyed reading!

  2. It is true that there is always an audience that the author wants to target. In middle school, I learned about the different types of purposes: to inform, to persuade, etc. Then in high school, my English teachers always talk about the significance of understanding the authors purpose. I feel that even when I use to write a diary, I become aware, unintentionally, that one day someone else may pick it up and read it. In some ways, this realization has impacted how I write, even in my most private writings. In general, I think it is fair to say that we write to influence others. Clout is key.

  3. I agree with you that by “enemy” Murray doesn’t exactly mean an attacker or offender but rather a really harsh critic. Revision and rewriting are two Important verbs I noticed as well, the syllable “re” at the beginning of each word makes emphasis on the repetition of the process. If we see that way even revision could silently imply a repetitive process.

  4. I also saw while reading Murray how he kept using words like “reread” and “rewrite.” I agree with you that they both go hand in hand and that most of revision is rereading that end up feeding into rewriting. You also helped me realize that be becoming a better reader I will also become a better writer, by being able to revise more successfully.

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