Friday, June 14, 2024

Get It Right—Three Reasons to Rewrite Your Work

by Lilka Raphael @Lilka_Raphael

“Good writing is essentially rewriting.” Roald Dahl

I recently attended a writers conference and one of the instructors reiterated the importance of rewriting our work. His take on the profession was an acknowledgement that writing is the art of rewriting. For those of us in the initial stages of a writing career this is especially true. The determination to complete our work does not absolve the obligation to refine our words into the emotions, imagery, or information sought after by our audience. Here are three reasons to get it right with the rewrite.

Stay Relevant
Like technology, writing trends evolve. What was considered brilliant years ago may not work well today. Changes in publication guidelines may require that we revise our initial work into something preferable to editors while catering to our readers. If you have a novel tucked away for decades (like me), it probably needs some revisions to make it relevant to today’s reader. I can recall an era with adjectives and adverbs sprinkled like pixie dust to “paint the picture” in romance novels. Years later, less is more. One strong modifier is preferable to three of them. Great authors utilize other techniques to evoke a mood or describe a scene. Though dependent on genre, tight and concise writing that is readily accessible on our mobile devices has become ideal for mass media distribution. 

Meet the Reader’s Expectations
The task of rewriting extends beyond quick edits and forces us to examine every word, phrase, and paragraph. What words clearly answer the reader’s questions? Is a concept thoroughly communicated? Are our transitions smooth and easily followed? Rewriting prompts us to delete the words that only contribute to the word count instead of engaging our audience. Our goal is to provide what the reader needs without giving them more than what is palatable. Achieving this objective is a delicate balance of addition and deletion while meeting the felt need of the reader.

Put Yourself in Your Work
This can span the gamut of ensuring your voice permeates your words to bearing your soul and sharing firsthand experiences. I have discovered that the most engaging articles are often the ones where we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Sharing our challenges in life provides an opportunity for readers to empathize and realize that they are not alone in their trials. Even in cyberspace, people want to connect with other people that are relatable and share common experiences. We can inadvertently diminish our voice to the point where our writing comes across as informative, yet sterile. This is daunting for introverts like me. However, the ability to inspire, teach, and entertain our readers is worth the effort and the risk. 

Whatever you write, rewrite it. Then rewrite it again. Our goal is to successfully convey information or deliver an experience. Taking the time to rewrite and weigh our words against our audience not only sharpens our skills but makes the time invested by our readers well worth it.

The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty. Proverbs 21:5 NKJV


A Florida native, Lilka Finley Raphael has been a licensed pharmacist for over thirty years. Her passions for writing, gardening, and photography prompted her to share her experiences and life lessons on her blogs B Is for Blessed and God, autism, & me. You can learn more about her at

Lilka’s greatest achievements are her two adult sons who have flown the nest. Happily married for thirty-two years, she lives east of Atlanta with her husband, Rod. They now share their home with two German Shepherds—Holly and Ivy—and one naughty kitty, Moxie.

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