Learning to Edit

“Of course, confidence is just the first step. The craft of writing must then be learned. The art of writing cannot be taught, but the craft of writing can. No one can teach you how to tap inspiration, how to gain vision and sensibility, but you can be taught to write lucidly, to present what you say in the most articulate and forceful way. Vision itself is useless without the technical means to record it.

There is no such thing as a great writer; there are only great re-writers. As you’ve heard before, 90 percent of writing is rewriting. If first drafts existed of some of the classics, you’d find many of them to be dreadful. This process of rewriting draws heavily on editing. And editing can be taught. Thus the craft of writing, inspiration aside, can to a great extent be taught. Even the greatest writers had to have been taught. Did they know how to write when they were toddlers?”

–Noah Lukeman, The First Five Pages, pg. 15-16


3 thoughts on “Learning to Edit

  1. Thank you for the kind words. Just to be entirely clear this wasn’t me. This was a quote from a literary agent named Noah Lukeman, who wrote a book on writing called The First Five Pages.


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