The art of drafting and revision: Extended mind in creative writing

Marcelle Freiman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Applying cognitive research to a creative writing disciplinary approach can 'make visible' the experience, or, one might say, the mind of the writer-at-work. This essay engages with a range of research on distributed and 'externalised cognition', and extended mind theory, to examine intersections between the writer, language and the materiality, the 'doing', of writing. It thus considers generative processes, the drafting and revisions of writing. Whereas literary research, such as in edited collections of original works, aims to construct or complete writers' works for readers, a writing approach, aims to examine processes of mind and cognition via drafts, revisions and autograph corrections as the material texts or artefacts of externalised cognition. The essay canvasses cognitive research on extended mind theory, neuroscience and language, and writers' commentaries to examine connections of thought, language-use and systems, and the question of imagination, in the process of the realisation of creative texts, and analyses as a case-study an example of revision of a poem from the late 18th century by S.T. Coleridge. This approach thus provides a model that not only validates the essential role of drafting and revision in creative writing process, but also endeavours to explain why this is so.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-66
Number of pages19
JournalNew Writing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015


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