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.

3 thoughts on “The Beginning In The End

  1. You write, “the writer must disconnect from the writing and acquaint with it as a presumptive reader.” Another word that others have used from Murray is “detached,” which is what your phrasing is talking about here, too. I think this makes a lot of sense to me–we have to be in the shoes of a reader. But can we ever fully do that? What is possible? Are we always the writer where it is hard to be the reader? Very interesting to think about, there is probably a middle ground here.

    I think it is interesting to explore how readers and writers approach a text and what space is occupied by the writer when they are also a reader. You say it has something to do with an end, drawing from Murray who says there is no end for writers. I wonder if you could do more with thinking about a reader who did not write the piece. You say the reading ends with the “culmination of the idea.” What does that mean to you? If you had time to explore that more, what do you think is the more specific distinction here? Something to think about, no need to respond.

  2. I enjoyed reading the work you did on the Murray reading. One of the things that stood up to me was the use of verb “drafts” and how you were able to connect metamorphosis and how a draft is able to provide this point to continue our work and to keep updating it until we are satisfied. The point you mentioned about how a writer has to disconnect, there is no true way to fully detach ourselves, which is why another reader is better in the writing process in my opinion.

  3. Murray does indeed take a keen interest in revision and evidence of his meticulousness is in his assertion that writers who desire to produce excellent work should “develop a special kind of reading skill” (Murray 27). It is indeed true that for this to happen, one must first write, and that this is not a simple task either but one that must be undertaken nonetheless. After all, writing provides one of the best ways through which one can express their ideas. Therefore, I would be doing myself a great disservice if I failed to recognize just how important revision is in the writing process because it is by doing so that one can connect with their audience without any obscurity.

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