Living Revision



THE BOOK: Living Revision: A Writer’s Craft as Spiritual; Practice.


THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew.

THE EDITOR: Mary Bernard.

THE PUBLISHER: Skinner House Books.

SUMMARY“Revision is the spiritual practice of transformation―of seeing text, and therefore the world, with new eyes. Done well, revision returns us to our original love.”

In Living Revision, award-winning author and teacher Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew guides writers through the writing and revision process. With insight and grace, Andrew asks writers to flex their spiritual muscles, helping them to transform their writing as they in turn transform themselves into more curious and reflective human beings.

THE BACK STORY: It’s long seemed to me that the most personally transformative part of writing is revision.  But all the books that explore writing as a means of spiritual growth focus on generating.  The whole writing process, from the first inkling of an idea through publication, provides opportunities for personal and spiritual transformation.  I wanted to return revision, which is often a sticky point for writers, back to its original meaning—re-seeing the text, and in so doing, re-seeing the world.

WHY THIS TITLE?: A lively spiritual life is all about revision—transforming and being transformed.  I also think for writers to write well, we have to open our hearts to revision.  Thus:  Living Revision.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? So many amateur writers think creativity, discovery, and joy only happen in a first draft!  Revision, they assume, is the dreary work of cleaning up prose for publication.  Even seasoned writers easily lose their passion, playfulness, and open heart during revision.

Living Revision is for writers who love the rush of discovery when they draft and want to preserve and multiply these discoveries through revision—while taking their craft to the next level.  Writers new to revision will find here an accessible introduction that overturns revision’s damaging stereotypes.  Writers experienced with revision will find fresh ways to “re-see” their work.  Writers who write as a spiritual practice with no intent of reaching an audience will find support in deepening this practice.  Writers who write for an audience will regain a sense of personal engagement in the revision process and find the skills they need to hone their craft.



“Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew is not only an author you should read but a teacher you can trust.  She knows how the tides run between the writing life and the life of the world and she will guide you in a way that frees your soul.”— Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Leaving Church, An Altar in the World, and Learning to Walk in the Dark.

“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.

“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.  Her straightforward discussions of the theory and application of revision will inspire and motivate emerging and experienced writers alike.  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, author of Around the Writer’s Block:  Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance.

“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, author of Ready for Air and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew writes, loves, teaches, and urban homesteads in South Minneapolis.  When she’s not chasing her gregarious daughter around the neighborhood or dancing with her partner, she’s doing her best to support the spiritual life of writers.  Her books are Swinging on the Garden Gate:  A Spiritual Memoir (Skinner House Books), Writing the Sacred Journey:  The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir (Skinner House Books), On the Threshold:  Home, Hardwood, and Holiness (Westview Press), the novel, Hannah, Delivered (Koehler Books), and most recently, Living Revision: A Writer’s Craft as Spiritual Practice.  You can connect with Elizabeth at and

AUTHOR COMMENTS: The transformation of a writer’s work depends on his or her willingness to be transformed during the writing.  Living Revision is the first writing text to champion personal discovery 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.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Here’s a link to a blog excerpt:
LOCAL OUTLETS:  Living Revision can be ordered through any local bookstore.


Barnes & Noble: 

PRICE: $18

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Facebook: @ElzJarrett

Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

Aliveness springs from our making something of what we experience and receiving what experience makes of us. –Ann Belford Ulanov

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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