A New York Times article reveals that Ernest Hemingway revised his seminal novel, “A Farewell to Arms,” 47 times. Since it was the 1920s, this process was made arduous by the fact that he used a manual typewriter and a pen to mark changes, then retype again and again.
Today, we are fortunate to have word processing and computers, which help speed and clarify the revising process. Nevertheless, a truth is revealed here: Great writing does not come quickly or easily. Hemingway rewrote the ending over and over, in phrases and sentences that ranged from cliched to great. It is only by gaining the perspective and intellectual distance from setting our writing aside, then coming back to review and revise, that we can write what we really mean, to the best of our ability.
This is a lesson often hard-learned by novice authors. Many feel they can write their own book without help from a professional. Yet time and again, we see manuscript from author-clients that, while sound in the ideas, is lacking clarity, focus, and sometimes even making its point. Most businesspeople will write only one book in their career. Why not make it the best it can be by enlisting our professional help?