The concept of revision being a part of the writing process, especially for new writers, has been a seemingly difficult one to get across to students this semester. It’s not that I think the concept is difficult to understand, but I think time management has produced a “one-and-done” mentality when it comes to writing assignments.
There are several negative implications to adhering to such a mentality, but I think the biggest one is the impact it has on the learning process. When it comes to improving writing skills, there is more to just practicing; you have to incorporate the feedback and the revision process into your writing practice. Even if you write often, but you are still writing with incomplete sentences, disjointed paragraphs, poor grammar, poor spelling and a myriad of other writing ailments, then your practicing is all in vain.
Strong writing skills are obviously important for individuals looking to pursue a career in public relations, but professionals in all industries need to have strong writing skills if they want to be seen as credible. Several professionals reiterated the importance of strengthening writing skills at last month’s Career Development Day. Hearing young professionals describe the writing components they encountered during their job search interviews should make current students sit up and take notice.
And more importantly, although learning the AP style rules is important for public relations professionals, many in the role of hiring said candidates who make AP errors during an interview writing test are not necessarily weeded out as quickly as those who make multiple grammatical errors. Learning the AP Stylebook comes with practice, but not having a firm grasp of basic sentence syntax at this juncture in your career tends to raise red flags with prospective employers.
A recent Facebook post from two former ACS students not only attested to the fact that as public relations professionals you will consistently use your AP Stylebook as a writing resource, but they also firmly supported the importance of revisions…and revisions…and yes, more revisions!
“We were missing Stacey Howard today while we spent hours hunched over our AP books proofing (it was brutal).
Stacey, we hope you’re pleased that we’re still using them constantly and not offended that we STILL can’t remember if firsthand is hyphenated on our own. We are always happy to be your poster children! Although, if your 313 students knew how much time we spend editing and how many rounds of revisions we go through, we might scare them all away!”
Years ago a colleague who owns his own public relations firm told students that he never sends out a piece of copy without at least one other set of eyes looking it over. So you see, whether you are new to public relations or a seasoned professional, editing never goes away. The one-and-done writing concept is typically never going to be a good philosophy to live by, so no matter the reason as to why you detest the revision process, you need to learn to embrace it. And learning to embrace it now, may actually make the process less “brutal” in the years to come.
Just give it some thought. Pull up a chair and let’s talk.