Living Revision: A Writer’s Craft as Spiritual Practice

In the messy middle of projects, you feel overwhelmed, without direction, and unable to get perspective. You’re uncertain whether writing is worth the time and energy. It is!

The creative process is fertile with the potential for transformation–of your text, yourself, your readers, and the wider world. Living Revision offers practical guidance for developing your draft while tending the creative wellspring.

Living Revision is the first writing text to champion personal transformation throughout the development of a writing project and not just at its inception. It helps writers thrive on the long road to completion and manifest the full potential of their projects.

Using reflections, exercises, quotations, examples from masters and amateurs, and easily adapted practices, Living Revision guides writers of all levels to fundamentally shift the way they see their stories and the world. Living Revision teaches a lively relationship to craft and an inquisitive, invested relationship to content—qualities critical to the creation of effective writing. Revision is essentially a spiritual practice; Living Revision is its handbook.

As I read Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew’s Living Revision, I found myself breathing a sigh of relief. Here, finally, someone has articulated both the struggles and the joy of revision, in a way that makes me eager to dive back into the projects that have stymied me. In addition to using examples and wise advice from other writers, Andrew gives us practical exercises that enable us to truly invigorate our work and revive its elusive heartbeat.

Brenda Miller, author of Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction and The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World

I love this book. You feel as if you are in a workshop with a writing mentor and spiritual guide. Elizabeth breathes new life into the revision process, seeing it as a spiritual practice to get to the heart, soul, and truth of one’s story and of oneself.

Rabbi Elana Zaiman, author of The Forever Letter: Writing What We Believe For Those We Love

How does a writer use the fertile space between drafts to engage mystery, shape a manuscript, and produce a strong revision? Revision is born of questions, not corrections, says Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew, and her excellent book shows us how to ask good ones.

Mary Carroll Moore, author of Qualities of Light and Your Book Starts Here

In Living Revision, award-winning author and beloved teacher Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew demystifies the writing and revision process. I love this book. It’s full of inspiration but also practical tips and exercises to guide any writer into deep revision. With this book as their roadmap, countless writers will learn to open their hearts and transform their writing and, in the process, themselves through revision. It is a must-read for any writer serious about her craft. I know I will turn to it again and again.

Kate Hopper, editor, teacher, and author of Ready for Air and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers.

Good writing comes from rewriting. Unfortunately, many beginning and intermediate writers lack the skills and inclination to go beyond mere copyediting and proofreading to explore the full creative potential deep revision can offer. Even experienced writers want to shy away from the love-hate relationship we have with the effort, agony, and commitment revision requires. Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew’s honest revelations of her students’ and her own struggles and successes offer solace. Living Revision’s practical techniques and pragmatic tools are a valuable addition to every writer’s skill set. Don’t just buy this book to adorn your bookshelf—keep it on your desk and use it!

Rosanne Bane, creativity coach and author of Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance