Keyboard Warriors

Revision is a staple of my writing. Not only is it advantageous, but also necessary. From academic work to leisurely texts and tweets, revision has many purposes.

First, revision ensures that I say what I actually intend to say. Spell check is usually good with correcting rudimentary spelling errors but has limitations. For example, homonyms typically fly under the radar of spell check and need a manual fix.

Secondly, revision makes me not sound stupid. When going over a piece of writing, sometimes I find that a certain word appears way too frequently, and replacing some with synonyms keeps the writing fresh and sophisticated. Sure, it may make the writing sound a little pretentious at times, but refined work and pretentiousness often go hand in hand.

Thirdly, revision keeps me honest. This is usually for texts or social media posts but is sometimes helpful in academic writing as well. Usually, this aspect comes in the form of a question: “Should I actually say what I’m about to say?” I like charged writing; it is the only enjoyable form of writing in my opinion. Saying bland or pointless things just to say them or to meet a requirement for a paper is boring, and will usually result in weaker writing by me. When I actually care about what I’m saying, the words seem to flow out easily and writing is genuinely enjoyable. However, charged writing by nature means some people will disagree with my beliefs. And, when it comes to social media, contentious messages are highly dangerous. Often, it’s better to leave these thoughts in your head than to be attacked by virtual “keyboard warriors,” which brings up another helpful question: “Is saying what I’m about to say worth it?” This is also useful for academic purposes; if my teacher differs from me with regards to political philosophies, it’s probably better for our relationship- and my grade- to stay away from controversial thoughts and language.

When I have academic writing to do, I typically begin by writing down very broad topics to discuss, starting with general introductory notes, then body paragraph ideas, then a general conclusion. Next, I sit back and let ideas come to me, stirring different thoughts in my head. Finally, I start writing each section individually under the broad topics, starting with the introduction. After finishing each paragraph, I read it over again (usually many times), making edits and increasing the flow. After the entire piece is completed, I read through it wholly, again making edits as I go. (All of this is done on a computer; I very seldomly- effectively never- draft on paper). This is a tedious and time-consuming process, but it is the best way I have found to ensure that I produce the highest quality writing I can.

In sum, I revise virtually everything I write. Both informal and formal writing need some level of revision to make sure I’m saying what I intend to, to help me sound intelligent, and to determine if I actually should say what I am about to say. Revision is essential in today’s world of nitpicky people.

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