[Max’s discussion response:]

It had always seemed odd to me that revision is a part of the infamous linear writing process as it’s fundamentally recursive and circular in nature. I think of revision as its own process, separate from the stages of planning, pre-writing, and writing. For me, revision in writing has always been sporadic; bits and pieces of revision taking place while writing, directly after writing, and well after writing (a day or two after; a week or two after; even, a year or two after). I can confidently say revision is endless; it has no limits. The language that communicates our thoughts and ideas on paper can be enhanced, altered, changed, or deleted at any moment in time or space. And, just because the author enhanced multiple parts of their original draft does not mean they are disowning that specific thought or idea; it simply means they are challenging their initial argument, searching intently for thought patterns and changing the language when necessary to make the argument more effective. Yet, challenging your own thought patterns is a metacognitive process that takes practice, patience, and persistence.

One of the twenty experienced writers in Sommer’s case study defined their process of revision as, “I rewrite as I write. It is hard to tell what is a first draft because it is not determined by time. [. . .]. I am constantly writing and rewriting” (Sommers 383). The above quoted definition of revision is also my definition of revision. Perhaps, revision has always seemed excluded from the process as it easily, and most often than not, unconsciously, occurs within each separate step of the linear writing process. Revision is an entire process all by its lonesome. I like to think of revision as a self-proclaimed theoretical, philosophical process in which the wise mind questions, interacts with, and responds to their initial ideas or point of view. Revision is a difficult process because, as humans, we often become attached to our views, ideas, perspectives, and thought patterns as they all ultimately define a major aspect of our being. Our ideas fuel the energy that drives our body and motives forward, so naturally, it’s hard to erase, delete, or edit a thought we once loved dearly but no longer resonate with. I suppose the secret to master of the art of revision is to “never fall in love with what [you’ve] written in a first or second draft” because you might just have to kill your babies to understand them further  (Sommers, 384).

With that reality, the ability to detach from one’s own writing when necessary is a salient skill writers and authors should practice and conduct further research on in the field of revision. The author should be taught to revise and question through an objective lens; like how I observed my writing in responding to Michael’s discussion reading on voice. If one were to ask me about my voice in writing, I could give a synopsis of what I think it may sound like regarding my life story. I come with assumptions and preconceived perceptions of who I think I am vs. who I really am. Therefore, I conclude that finding voice in writing can be just as challenging as author’s discovering it for themselves. Perhaps, that’s why revision and voice in composition studies are rare amongst other research topics. Perhaps, there is an interrelated connection between the two that we’ve yet to fully uncover.


Francesca Di Fabio 


[Michael’s discussion response:]

“Who is my true self?” This question, along with, “What is my purpose in this lifetime?” are both undoubtedly my Roman Empires; I think about these two questions an unhealthy amount of time. Does this version of my true self come out around those whom I love most? Does this version of my true self appear within the word formation of my writing? Does this version of my true self take shape when I engage in a passion of mine – if it be writing, singing, or practicing yoga?

While reading, Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries by Peter Elbow, I thought a lot about my so-called true self or voice in writing, and if I could pinpoint it, or something within my writing for this class, even though I have no clue what that something is. So, what did I do? I went back to the word document where I write my blogs posts and read each one again. Before I re-read each blog post, I had to mentally detach from my writing. Each post for this class came from a real, internal reaction to the literature assigned to us. Automatically, I assumed my true self should reveal itself within the words of my thoughts, right?

To properly detach from that assumption and the very surreal feelings that initiated my writing, I sat in front of my computer screen, with the word document open, and walked myself through an imagery meditation. An imagery meditation in which I find myself scrolling through a discussion board website, like Reddit, and randomly come across my blog posts that were “posted” by an anonymous source. I had to approach my own blog posts with an objective mindset, as in the writing I am currently reading to analyze is not mine. I – Francesca Di Fabio, do not own this writing. The writing I am currently reading are not my words nor my thoughts. Total and complete detachment from the source, being myself, is a must to read my words through a different lens– one that is searching for some voice, or true self that reflects the individual author as a complex human being. Or, as a skilled craftsman who can persuade, connect, reveal, and empathize.

The heart of Elbow’s scholarly writing on voice mainly centers around two distinct viewpoints – Aristotle and Plato. Aristotle viewed voice as the ability to “make ourselves thought to be sensible and morally good” (Elbow 1). He further acknowledged that “speakers [or writers] can fool listeners and persuade them with a consciously constructed voice” (Elbow 1). Contrastingly, Plato stated that the power of language is derived from the rhetor’s true self, arguing that “to learn to speak or write better, we need also work on being better persons” (Elbow 1). And, thus, the debate on the importance of voice in composition studies ignited, with one ancient Greek Philosopher on one end of a teeter-totter, claiming it’s all about faking the skill of mastery, and the other on the other end, claiming the skill of mastery is supported by the nature of our inner, most truest selves.

Apparently, Elbow can see Aristotle affirming Plato’s viewpoint; meeting at the center of balance, ultimately revealing, “It helps to be trustworthy; but if your skilled you can fake it” (Elbow 2). I resonate with what Elbow had said about Aristotle’s attempt to balance the teeter-totter. Let’s consider the classic phrase – fake it until you make it – which was once my life motto until the mask became too heavy to hold and carry. This metaphorical mask was my safeguard. I had to mask my intelligence to survive college because of my trauma with learning. I had to pretend that I’m not dyslexic and that writing and reading came as naturally as breathing and blinking. It was all one big, internal lie that did nothing but hinder my true self or voice in writing, speaking, and socializing.

I did not always own my story like I do within the blog posts for this very class. The writing within my blog posts somehow always finds a way to connect the literature or research assigned to us to a personal aspect of my life: learning through a dyslexic lens, the redundancy of OCD, and the reality being that I often fear my own thoughts. These are the very tragic occurrences of my life that continue to sculpt the welcoming, animated personality you all see in class. And I can’t help but think that there must be a true self hidden underneath all our koshas, or the many layers that encase our soul because I have felt the release of that dense, hefty mask . . .  and oh man, was it enlightening.

Lil Wayne once said, “be good or be good at it,” which I take as one must do the inner work to see the good within their being and beyond their craft, or fake and focus on the craft until they become it. Personally, I’d rather know myself so well to the point where it’s not solely the talent of my craft that defines me but every aspect of who I am that helps define the purpose behind my craft.


Francesca Di Fabio 