Don’t get too attached.

As writers, we value words. We value writing. We especially value our own writing.

That is one reason why it is so hard to get articles back from journals that are filled with red ink. It’s useful. We learn where our sentences weren’t tight enough or our thoughts derailed the topic. But it’s painful.

No, I meant that sentence to be unclear. (Okay, I didn’t, but I don’t have any thoughts on how to say it better.) No, I really liked however at the beginning of the sentence rather than in the middle.

BUT, and it’s a big but, we have to deal with it. Seeing all the ways my paper could be made better, ways I didn’t see on my own, gives me a sense of frustration. Why couldn’t I write it that well to start with? But it also makes me grateful. Someone cared enough about what I wrote to try and help me make it better. Most of the time, they are right. Sometimes it’s just a personal style choice. Sometimes it’s a big deal. And sometimes it is very hard to agree to the changes.

So I am telling you what I am telling myself, as I review all the changes (100s- Am I really that bad a writer?) for an article. The point of the article is to share what I know and to get published. Don’t get too attached to the language you used to originally make your point. If your point gets made more effectively and more efficiently, isn’t that better?

One thought on “Don’t get too attached.”

  1. I can’t remember where I read this (maybe Lindemann’s A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers… or maybe somewhere else), but I know I read about writers having more trouble revising work in our native languages because we are to attached to the words and patterns – they are a part of us. But when we use second languages, it’s much easier to just throw stuff out. I’ve always thought this is interesting and, in my experience, quite true.

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