Wednesday, January 13, 2016

ReWrite - Publishing As a Second Language

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Ah! The beginning of a new year. A time to start over. A time to set new goals and try new things.

Our word this month is rewrite. Just the words, “I’d like you to do a rewrite,” can put panic in the heart of a writer. The word itself literally means to write again. You might look at it as a way to start over and make your writing better, not something to fear.

For a writer the request for a rewrite means that the original did not meet the editor’s needs in some way but the idea was interesting and intriguing and the editor was willing to work with him or her to make it acceptable. Often writers feel it is a negative thing when an editor asks for a rewrite of an article or chapter. But in some ways a rewrite is like a new year – a chance to start over and do things better.

Next time an editor asks you for a rewrite, think about it this way.
  • A rewrite is a second chance. Even though you gave it your best on the first round, you have probably thought of ways to make it better since you pushed the send button.
  • A rewrite is an opportunity to take a look inside the editor’s mind and see how he or she thinks. When you study the corrections or suggestions that come with a request for a rewrite, you realize even more what the editor is looking for. This not only helps you to grow as a writer, but also teaches you how to sharpen your writing skills.
  • In the rewrite of a novel, you see how the editor views your storyline and will find that his or her suggestions may add a twist to make a more exciting novel than you submitted.
  • A rewrite gives you the opportunity to update and make your information even more current. In the case of nonfiction, things are changing all the time. Perhaps there is a new fact that came to your attention after you submitted  your article.
  • A rewrite assures you that next time you write for this editor, you will know more specifically what he or she looks for and how to make sure you submit an acceptable article.

Currently, I am working with a new editor. I was excited to get the assignment but was entering new territory. I submitted my article and couldn’t wait to hear how pleased the editor was at my first attempt to write for her. She seemed pleased however, my four pages turned into seven with the addition of all her comments!  I just sent it back to her after working hard to fill in the gaps she pointed out to me. I don’t know what her next comments will be or if it will be deemed ready for publication. But I do know that I have a much better idea of how to write for this magazine and I learned a lot in the process.

So next time you are asked to do a rewrite, don’t look at it negatively. Look at it as a time to learn more about the craft you love.


Linda Gilden is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She finds great joy (and excellent writing material) in time spent with her family. Helping writers understand PSL is one of the things she also loves to do through her newest book, Called to Write. This month she is excited about having a chance to set new goals for the new year and maybe even do a few more rewrites!

To find out more about Linda, her writing, and her ministry, visit You can also connect with her on Twitter @LindaGilden and Facebook at Author Linda Gilden.


  1. Linda, Thank you for the encouragement. A New Year and a new outlook on writing. God bless you for taking the time to write this.

  2. Linda, thanks for this good info! I actually call myself a "rewriter."
    I've tweeted your blog for other writers. BTW, I have an idea I've been planning to share with you. Back with you later. Blessings,
    Elva Cobb Martin, Pres. ACFW-SC Chapter

  3. This helps a rewrite to not be so scary! Thanks, Linda, for your points.