CCDMD Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development

Revision Strategies for Writing

In Revision Strategies for Writing, you will learn how to:

Prepare your assignment before you begin to write
Assess your writing strengths and weaknesses
Revise your work by proofreading and editing
Practise your skills to overcome difficulties.

    Overview of the Writing Process

    Academic writing is basically a four-step process:

    Step 1. Invention or Pre-Writing
    Step 2. Rough Draft
    Step 3. Revision
    Step 4. Final Draft

    Step 1. Invention or Pre-Writing

    Starting to write is often the hardest part of an assignment. You may feel at a loss or overwhelmed by the scope of the topic. You may have a great argument but no idea where to begin.


    Access some helpful strategies to get the ideas flowing from the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

    Step 2. Rough Draft

    You will find that your writing improves dramatically if you first write and revise a rough draft. Writers who submit work that they have looked at only once will miss important problems, such as disorganization, disconnected ideas, repetition, and spelling and grammar errors.



    Writing a rough draft allows you to establish the flow of ideas. Correct spelling and punctuation are not that important at this stage, but you can highlight problematic words and sentence structure to be checked later. The main purpose of a rough draft is to verify that your arguments progress in a logical manner and that you have enough supporting material.


    Use your final outline and research notes as guides. Remember to include an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion for essays, especially for literary and argumentative essays. Often it helps to start with the body paragraphs that relate most to your thesis statement; it is easier to introduce and wrap up your arguments once you have written a significant portion of your assignment, just as it is easier to come up with an appropriate title once you have finished writing.


    Insert all references into your rough draft, making sure that you have chosen the best citation for each point. Use the correct style from the outset to avoid errors, missing information, and time-consuming revision of sources later.

    College English Prep Online (CEPO)

    Access a full program of five units on how to write an effective literary essay from Vanier College and the CCDMD.

    Step 3. Revision

    All good writers revise their work to ensure they are communicating their ideas effectively using correct spelling and grammar. Even if the ideas in your writing are strong, skipping the revision phase results in unclear and distracting writing that misses its intended purpose. Revising is necessary for success in academic writing, and learning to edit your own work is a great opportunity to develop communication skills you will need for college, university, and the workplace.

    There are many ways to revise a text or an essay, and writers develop their own styles over time. The strategies proposed here will help get you started, guide your process, and improve skills you may already have.

    When you are revising, you may wish to:

    Move around

    For more help with this Step, go directly to the Revise section.

    Step 4: Final Draft

    The final draft is the result of all your writing and revising. You can repeat Steps 2 and 3 as many times as you wish before arriving at your final, polished draft.

    Conditions of use    |    © 2010 CCDMD