Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Good content takes time! Here’s why you shouldn’t bypass rewriting your copy when you need to. [Tuesdays: “Write with the Pen of the Masters”]

September 8, 2020

Roald Dahl, the famous British writer known for his stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and The BFG, once said this about the process of writing:

“Good writing is essentially rewriting.”

When it comes to creating good copy, how many times do you have to rewrite before you arrive at your final draft?

Consider your first draft as just the tip of the iceberg!

Underneath is a whole bunch of proofreading, editing, revising, and rewriting.

Writing is rewriting.

Are you the type of writer who works on a complete rough draft first before going through your whole content once again to check for errors?

Or are you the type who is very conscientious and labors over each sentence while laying out your first draft?

Whether you belong to the first group or the second, one thing is for sure.

Writing is a time-consuming process.

It is a repeated cycle of writing, editing, and rewriting until you arrive at the cleanest and most polished version of your copy.

This tedious process excuses no one. Even the greatest and most experienced writers go through it with their piece.

There is even no question that the majority of our time on writing is not really spent on writing at all, but on the rewriting part!

A very thorough process, right?

Don’t worry. It’s normal to have a lot of edits to apply, especially on the first draft.

Rewriting may be difficult, but it’s twice as rewarding, especially when you see your content clean, concise, and ready for publishing!

Here are three ingredients to produce successfully rewritten copy:

  1. Once is not enough.

    “Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.” – Patricia Fuller, fantasy writer and author of Five Artists at NOAA

    Writing is not just about waiting for your muse to arrive and fill you up with ideas and inspiration.

    It is about “getting down to it,” translating your thoughts and ideas into words, and putting those words into a blank page with all your stamina, courage, and perseverance.

    The thing with writing is it’s not purely talent; it’s also partly a skill that requires constant practice and effort.

    It’s highly unlikely to get your copy perfect the first time… and it’s okay!

    In order to improve your copy, you must think of your first draft as a raw potential.

    To rewrite, then, is to take that potential and use it to create a complete story, which is just as much an art form as a painting or sculpture.

  2. Develop your objective eye.

    Having an objective eye means being able to look at your copy without prejudice so you can effectively rewrite it.

    Very few writers start their career with this kind of eye (and this is where peer proofreading comes in), but it can be developed with the right practice.

    Build up your objective eye muscle with these three activities:

    • Read. No one is limiting you as to the kinds of books you’d like to read, but don’t be ignorant about the factors that make them a good book or a bad book.

      Read critically. See the bones beneath the book’s flesh. Study the plot, grammar, sentence structure, and flow of the narrative.

      Writing and reading go hand in hand. What you read will influence WHAT and HOW you write—so read carefully.

    • Practice. Look at the first draft of your copy as a lump of clay that you can mold into a pleasing shape.

      There is always room for improvement.

      Give yourself the permission to experiment, to make mistakes, and to start over again.

      Write. Rewrite. Then, read it out loud.

      This process will help sharpen your objective eye and its ability to spot faulty content.

    • Join a critique group. People are often keen to spot an error made by someone else, but imperceptive when it comes to their own errors.

      As a writer, you have to be prepared to receive and give critiques as these will sharpen your objective vision.

      Look for a critique group that is honest and supportive. Critiquing broadens your perspective on literature and writing as a whole.

      If, as a writer, you are not comfortable with joining such a group, a private exchange with a fellow trusted writer will do.

      What’s important is you have another pair of eyes to catch the things you might have missed in your own copy.

  3. Rewriting takes time.

    It doesn’t matter how or when you rewrite. You can either do it as you go through your first draft or after you’ve written your whole copy in rough form. As the writer, you know what method works best for you.

    Writing and rewriting shouldn’t be hurried; good copy is carefully shaped and even though it is a very time-consuming process, it produces great results.

    Harry Shaw, author of Errors in English and Ways to Correct Them, said:

    “Those unwilling to revise and rewrite are skipping a major step toward becoming better writers.”

    If you’re afraid to go through this stage, you’ll never develop your content’s potential, as well as your potential as a writer. Polished copy is only achieved through rewriting, proper editing, and thorough proofreading―all of which require a lot of patience!

It doesn’t matter whether you arrive at your polished copy after the third draft or fourth draft… or even the tenth draft!

As you write and rewrite, you’ll develop the skills you’ll need to become a better writer such as your objectivity, adaptability, vocabulary, and organizational skills.

American writer Joyce Carol Oates stated the process this way:

“The pleasure is the rewriting: The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written. This is a koan-like statement, and I don’t mean to sound needlessly obscure or mysterious, but it’s simply true. The completion of any work automatically necessitates its revisioning.”

Rewriting is important. Don’t leave it out of your copywriting process!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Write with the Pen of the Masters”

Who doesn’t find content writing to be a skill that requires a lot of practice and effort?

In fact, many people may even find copywriting very intimidating.

However, you can be a good writer as long as you have the right tools. You won’t always get things right the first time, but with enough time and practice, you’ll get the hang of it!

When you write a copy for any brand or for your company, your aim is to make an impact and…

…to get people to remember.

Getting people to remember means getting consumers to buy your product or to avail of your service.

And when you get your content to deliver the results you want, THAT is a great copy!

Every Tuesday, we publish content based on tips and insights from the masters of content writing, copywriting, and storytelling.

Become more familiar with ways to write great copy that helps you gain ROI from your efforts, drive profitability, and achieve your business goals.

Learn time-tested tactics that better capture the attention of your target audience, and maximize the benefits of great copywriting.

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Write with the Pen of the Masters!”


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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