University of Iowa

Revising How You Revise: A Workshop for Nonfiction Writers

Weeklong July 21 to July 26 2019

We all know that revision is the deepest level of “work” that we do on any piece of writing we compose, but not all writers have a system in place for what to actually DO once they set themselves to the task. By listening carefully to what the draft is saying, and by applying some specific criteria to handling a manuscript in different stages, writers can begin to be more systematic, and less vulnerable, to the enduring and sometimes maddening work of revision. This workshop is intended to help any writer who is “stuck” on what, how, and when to revise a memoir, essay, or creative nonfiction piece. We will spend our days engaging in exercises on types of revision practice, as well as manuscript review designed to generate useful feedback to help writers feel less at sea with a piece that needs revision. Participants will bring either a short or long piece of nonfiction that they know needs revision or “re-seeing,” and through a series of exercises and in-class manuscript review, we will discuss how to be systematic at revising that work. Writers of all levels and expertise are welcome.


In this workshop we will generate new writing through guided exercises and prompts; provide feedback on writing you bring from home; provide feedback on writing you produce in our week.