How long does it take to revise a first draft?

Revision time depends on many factors, including:

  • The length of the original piece of writing. The longer the first draft is, the more hours you should expect to spend revising.
  • boy on stool writingWhether you revise as you write or keep writing a draft until you reach the end and then revise. If you revise while you write, you might need less time later. But you may reach the end and decide big chunks of already revised material need to be tossed out, making early revisions a waste of time.
  • Whether you organize your work before you write your first sentence. In general, the more time you put into planning and detailing before you write, the less time you need to revise.
  • Your willingness to cut hundreds or thousands of words. Some writers can ruthlessly revise copy while others snip a little here and a little there, again and again. It’s painful to discard your writing, but the quicker you can throw out the bad or the not needed, the faster your revising is likely to go.
  • Your writing skill. The more skilled you are, the longer it might take you to revise since you know great writing is rewriting.
  • Your patience.
  • Your deadline. A deadline of tomorrow destroys distractions and helps you to focus.

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