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Mar 08 2013

The Process of Revising Manuscripts and Grants

Dr. Crazy is wondering how to get her good composition students to understand that handing them back their essays covered in editorial remarks is not a sign that they are not doing well and aren’t good writers.

I have on occasion gotten this kind of pushback from trainees in my lab when we revise their research manuscripts or grant applications: Why didn’t you tell me in the first place that we were going to reorganize this shitte in this way, and I would have written it that way in the first place? You made me waste my time on that earlier draft, you capricious fucke!

The answer is, of course, that this represents a severe misconception about the process of writing. The path from first draft to middle drafts to final draft is not a linear progression of steady improvement. Almost always, the route to the final draft does not become apparent unless and until the specific ways in which earlier drafts are fucked uppe reveal themselves. And the only way those revelations occur is to first generate the fucked uppe earlier drafts.

1 comment

1 ping

  1. 1
    Yoshimi

    Yes, this. I’ve made my students very anxious by suggesting significant reorganization close to deadlines, but think I’ve succeeded in convincing them they aren’t losing ground b/c the writing becomes easier as the organization improves.

  1. 2
    Updates on what I’ve been doing – March 10 | Elizabeth Clarkson, PhD

    [...] The Process of Revising Manuscripts and Grants [...]

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