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  • Writer's picturealisonkilian

Death, taxes, and revision requests: the certainties of being a writer

Revision requests waste time for writers and their clients. Here's how I try to avoid them.

"Writers are notoriously sensitive beings."

That's what my boss told me when I started my career as an editorial intern at a glossy magazine (and was tasked with copy editing another writer's piece).

Her words were both a statement of fact and a note of caution. Now, some 15 years later, I have significantly more experience—from both the writer's side and the editor's side—than I did at that time. And I have to agree with her.

As a professional writer, revision requests from clients are part of my job (literally—I include a set number of edits in any contract). As much as I'd love to believe that every piece I deliver is perfect, I know that's simply an unrealistic expectation.

Of course, that doesn't mean that I enjoy getting revision requests. I don't take them personally like I used to. But, let's face it, revisions mean more work! If it's possible to avoid them, that's preferable.

There are a few things I do to help minimize the likelihood of requiring revisions, saving both myself and my clients time, including:

  1. Scheduling a quick briefing with my client, ensuring clarity regarding expectations on both sides (I'm planning a whole other post on what goes into a briefing).

  2. Asking my client for examples of written work they love. For example, if I'm ghostwriting a book, I ask for examples of authors and works they admire. Then we talk about what they like, e.g. the tone, the narrative structure, etc.

  3. Reviewing everything before I send it to my client. This should go without saying, but it's critical to do a thorough line edit to ensure all work is client ready (which equals "publication ready" in my book).

Is this strategy foolproof? No! I still get revision requests. But since I've implemented it, the frequency of those requests has decreased significantly. Nonetheless, in any writer's life, there are three certainties: death, taxes, and revision requests.

Thank you for reading my blog! This is a space where I share personal thoughts — an opportunity for self-expression that has nothing to do with my professional writing. None of the thoughts or opinions expressed in this blog should be construed as anything but my own, nor should they be affiliated with any company or person I contract with or write for.

NOW that that's done... I'd love to hear from you about this blog post in the comments!

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