How many times did you revise that?

Oct 14, 2013 | Better Writing

“How many times did you revise that?”

The question fit the context. We were discussing revision during a coaching session. My client was asking about two versions of a blog post, done on two different blogs.

I wrote “Ernest Hemingway’s Lost Manuscripts” on my leadership blog. The point was to get rid of the past if it doesn’t work. About eight months later I wrote “Writing Tip: Starting Fresh” about how sometimes starting over is the best option.

I had pointed the client to the first version because we discussed Hemingway in a coaching session. She noticed the newer version on this blog and asked her question.

Getting the answer to “how many” was easy. Recycling day hadn’t come around yet. I went to my recycling pile and found the revisions. There were six.

The first revision made changes to serve the purpose of the piece. The next five were mostly about making the writing a little better and cleaner.

The newer piece was a little shorter. It was also easier to read according to the Flesch–Kincaid readability test that’s a feature of Word.

Bottom Line

There’s no magic number for revisions. Revise as often as necessary until your piece reads well and says what you want it to say.