October 5th, 2012 / 1:15 pm

How do you revise, like literally, how do you do it: print and cut, type and delete, erase with an old school eraser, white out, etc.?


  1. William Owen

      I print out a section at a time and mark it up, put big Xs on things, make some kind of mark in the margin of a section that I feel is poorly written to come back to it. If I need to write new passages I write them on the backs of the pages, and in a notebook if I need more space, and then staple the notebook pages to the print-outs. I’ll work through several sections of the text like this, then go back and start editing the digital file.

      Have tried to do the William Gibson method, where he sits down and reads the entire book from the beginning every morning, but A) I don’t have time to, he must read like a demon, and B) I never actually get up to the point where I actually stopped – I always find something earlier on that I want to change and get stuck there. I might try this again writing something entirely new, maybe it works better that way.

  2. Adam Raymond J

      I do all sorts of things, but retyping the whole thing is what I like the most. Also, I assume that like me everyone gets a different feel & thinking pattern from different mediums — typing vs longhand, printed vs word processor. Seems like each different method has a big impact on my style. I think trying multiple ways for each piece is the best if you have the time.

  3. Justin Carter

      i retype each new draft of a poem on a new page in a word doc. then i do this a lot of times & when i feel like the poem is ‘done’, i start a new word doc, put the poem in it, wait a few days, & do the process over again

  4. rawbbie

      read it out loud, going through language that feels awkward or doesn’t convey the meaning I want it to have. Once it sounds good to me, I send it to friends. After they send me notes, I edit and read again, then print it off and take it somewhere outside of computerable space, like the lake, my bathtub, etc. Then I re-ad to my compy, sometimes from a fresh blank page, retyping it.

  5. rawbbie
  6. Adam D Jameson

      Ideally, I print the piece out, then go through it with a blue Bic pen. I use scratch paper to explore new phrasings, etc. (I tend to do this in coffee shops, although lately I’ve been working more at home.) Then I type the edits in.

      Though sometimes I edit directly in MS Word. Blog posts I tend to do entirely electrically, printing them out only when I’m really stumped in terms of structure.

  7. Adam D Jameson

      I read out loud a lot, too.

  8. Alexander J. Allison

      Always on the screen. First at a sentence, then word level. I read things out loud, check the beats, the rhythm, where my voice catches. Finding flaws on paper is like being diagnosed with horrible illnesses.

  9. lily hoang

      You read it out loud from screen? Fascinating.

  10. Jake Levine

      read it backwards, if the whole thing makes sense or is better from the back, hit it, back, back, back into the keyboard. then print it out and cut out every line. find the best line. open up the battlefield where the moon says i love you and point your finger at a random line. compare said lines. if your line sucks worse, take a leave of absence and just read old shit you can download free on your kindle. then when you feel ready… take out the best idea or line and write a new poem called the battlefield where the moon says i love you. when finished, rename.

  11. ampoet

      Why revise? If it’s good, read it. If it’s not, rip it up.

  12. ampoet

      And when it comes to others’ work, I like to refer to what I call the Piet Mondrian method…inspired by the guy who didn’t like Piet Mondrian, so he went into a museum and vomited on one of his paintings.

  13. William VanDenBerg

      I read out loud from the screen, although I also print and mark up by hand. That’s usually just during the final draft. I also make my computer read the piece to me, which, once I got over how weird it is, is quite helpful.

  14. Vicki

      I print it out. Then I read it out loud or murmuring under my breath if I’m in a public space and people think I’m insane, and I cross that ish out. Then I make the edits in the actual Word document. This is why it takes forever.