I have known for a long time that three revisions are the norm for writers. I’ve tried to ignore that standard and do it my own way and it keeps coming back to bite me on the ass.
Too few and too many revisions can both be a problem. I’m going to use blog articles for my examples. What are the problems with deviating from the three revision norm?
Too Few Revisions
We’ve all seen examples of blog articles written in one draft. There are lots of typos, some sentences don’t make sense, the topic wanders, and there are digressions that have nothing to do with the topic. This problem is easy to fix.
Any article can have a revision tracking section in the header of the file. By adding two revisions and putting some time between them, most of the problems mentioned above can be resolved.
How about too many revisions. Can that be a problem? It sure can.
Too Many Revisions
I’ve found too many revisions to be a problem with my own articles. I used to have five revisions after an idea was started as an article. They were: rough, add, cut, read aloud, and typos. I was giving myself time in between each of those revisions. The result? I revised each article so many times that I couldn’t tell if I was repeating myself. Did I write that idea in another article or am I remembering the last time I revised this one? That’s not good. I don’t want to repeat myself, but I also don’t want to drop a good writing tip.
There’s a second consequence of having too many revisions. I had far too many articles in between rough and final draft. I could see this easily. Rough drafts have no prefix. Once the rough draft is done, there’s a year prefix. Final drafts have a year prefix and x. I knew I was spending too much time on the intermediate revisions because most of my articles had only a year prefix.
I’ve found a solution to my dilemma. The rough draft is now the first and then there can be some time before revision. The other four revisions are all done at once as the second revision. I suppose I need a different word than revisions. Sub-revisions? My final (third) revision can be done when I’m ready to post or submit an article.
Sometimes the lessons learned best are the ones learned through trial and error. Have you learned the three revision lesson?