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review 2017-05-21 00:00
Revising Herself: The Story of Women's Identity from College to Midlife
Revising Herself: The Story of Women's Identity from College to Midlife - Ruthellen Josselson There isn't a written review of this book yet on Goodreads, so I'll take a crack at it.

In Revising Herself, Josselson compiles data from 3 sets of interviews with 30 or so college-educated middle and upper class white women. The diversity of the sample was not particularly great. The three interviews were set approximately 10 years apart: once at the end of college, another at age 33, and a final interview at age 43. The interviews were very detailed, and Josselson gives us snippets from some of the interviews. She doesn't recount every single detail and doesn't tell a story for every single woman. She tells parts of their stories. For its time, this book would have been considered groundbreaking work, especially since studies frequently just assumed that if men followed a pattern, then women must follow that same one too.

Josselon placed the 30 women within 4 categories, and these women tended to experience different identity "crises" at different ages, depending on how they started their identity journey in college. The four categories included the Guardians, the Pathfinders, the Searchers, and the Drifters. I didn't find myself particularly drawn or described by any of these categories, but if I had to guess, I would be somewhere between a Pathfinder and Searcher. I am definitely not a Guardian.

The book is well written and inspires thoughtful reflection, even if I didn't learn many new things. I read this book because I wanted to know how my experiences fit in with others' experiences, but I didn't find what I was looking for. Instead, Josselson encourages the readers to recognize that all women's experiences are somewhat unique. Despite the uniqueness, women of the time tended to form their identities by locating themselves in relation to others. It's a frustrating concept to accept. With all the progress that women had made in the work world, political world, and cultural world, they still primarily referred to themselves in relation to others. I can't quite decide if Josselson's work reinforces the stereotype that women are primarily relational creatures or if the culture of America still at that point held women down by their bonds. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I haven't seen data for people in the 2000s and later yet, so it's hard to tell. My biggest concern with this book is that some people may use Josselson's research to reinforce gender stereotypes. However, it's important to remember that not all of the women depicted in Josselson's research were mothers, and some of them had high status careers.

Josselson's most important work is not the women's gender experiences. Her most important work actually comes in the last section where she describes the women's identity growth. Growth is essentially the process of collecting your sense of place and revising your identity based on your past and present, or as Josselson puts it so well, "Growth is a process of rewriting, revising, and interweaving these narratives" (256). The growth in identity occurs when a woman takes her past and reworks it to fit her present narrative of herself. This shows that basically human memory is not reliable, but also that humans tell themselves whatever stories help them get through the day. They resolve cognitive dissonance by revising the definition of themselves.

I admire Josselson's work for this book, and I hope to see future works like this, but her findings are a little disappointing, to be honest. That even during and after the feminist movement, women still primarily define themselves by their relationships rather than their achievements. Maybe these women are wiser than I am and know something that I don't. Humans are social creatures, after all, but I just wish that these women would have defined themselves in terms of their aspirations, work, and ambitions as equally as they defined themselves in terms of relationships.
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text 2014-09-22 09:06
Editing Tips

A few days ago YA Fanatic posted that she'd finished the first draft of her novel. In this post she asked if anyone had tips on editing. I responded in the comments but then realised the comment was going to be ginormous and so I ended up saying that I'd make a post instead.


What follows is my own personal method for editing. After a decade+ of editing my own work and digging around for advice from other writers, I think most can agree that many of these steps are necessary. You don't have to follow all of them and you should find your own order. I'm still working on perfecting this system and that process will probably never end. If you are a writer, please leave your own methods and experience down in the comments. :)


I'm adding a short description below because this post is HUGE. I've run out of time and, as hilarious as it is with this being about editing, I don't have time to edit this post before I leave on Monday. Such is life! Also, apologies for how 'know-it-all' this post might come off as. I spent so many years writing technical FAQs for websites (and working tech support) that I developed an odd voice I'm not quite fond of.


There are three major steps in editing. Developmental, structural and professional. Revising can take twice as long as it took you to write your first draft. Hang in there. Good luck!


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review 2014-03-05 19:21
Review: Rock Your Revisions by Cathy Yardley
Rock Your Revisions: A Simple System for Revising Your Novel (Rock Your Writing) - Cathy Yardley

A nice process for going through one's novel draft and making changes/undertaking checks in revision. I personally didn't find it as flexible for a systematic process, but I think it still manages to give concrete steps to examine a manuscript with, and I think that may help a lot of writers. It's probably best to use this with Yardley's "Rock Your Plot" book, and the reason I give this 3 stars is because I don't know if it completely stands alone or provides enough for its respective price.

I can't complain though; it does give a very quick, concise method to approaching the revision of one's work, and that in itself is worth giving it a read.

Overall score: 3/5 stars

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review 2008-09-09 00:00
Revising Prose - Richard A. Lanham This volume plus my 11th grade/College Comp teacher pretty much taught me all I know about writing well.

Any edition is highly recommended.
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