Revising and Editing

Revising can be considered to be the most critical stage of the writing process. Revision refers to going through the rough draft and making improvisations or corrections wherever necessary. It may even be repeated three or four times depending upon the satisfaction level of the writer.

One cannot assume that the written draft is completely error-free. There might be some areas, which would have skipped your mind while writing. There might be instances where your draft doesn’t make sense. After writing, you might have a gut feeling that something is wrong about it, but you are not able to grasp what exactly it is. A proper revision helps to sort out all the above problems. Prepare a series of questions, and then check whether your draft fulfils all the mentioned criteria. The checklist can be as follows:

  • Does the draft convey what you want to say?
  • Have you included all the relevant information?
  • Does it make sense? Is it clear what you are trying to say? Can the reader understand it?
  • Does it remain focused on the main point/purpose of your topic throughout or does it deviate from it somewhere?
  • Is there any information that you need to add or remove?
  • Is it well-organized, or do some parts seem to be out of place?
  • Is there cohesiveness between the different paragraphs?
  • Is the style appropriate?
  • In case you have given examples, are they specific and clear?

There are also a few other things you need to keep in mind while revising:

  • Do not start revising your paper immediately after the writing is finished. If it’s a short paper, wait for a few hours, and if it’s a long and complex paper, wait for a day or two. A fresh mind and fresh eyes are the requisites for a better revision.
  • Read through more than once and focus on specific portions each time. For instance, focus on transitions between sentences during the first revision; focus on overall organization in the next, and so on.
  • Read your essays wearing someone else’s moccasins. It is always good to get someone to read through your draft. Often, the person who reads can point out where your draft is lacking, and can give valuable suggestions to improve it further.

After revising, you can edit the draft for grammatical errors, vocabulary, and spellings. This process should be kept at last because you might add, remove, or rewrite content during revising; and, it will just pile up your work if you have already edited it earlier.

How to Improve Your Reading Skills

Here are some steps to help you improve your reading skills:

1.  Evaluate your reading habits to find out where you need improvement. Do you “say” the words you’re reading? Do strange words slow your speed and comprehension? Do you read every word? Do you re-read sentences? Do you vary your speed to suit the material?

2.  Provide the best conditions for reading. Choose a place where you’ll have few interruptions, have good lighting, can sit in a good chair, and won’t be distracted by radio, TV or other noises. Hold the book about fifteen inches away (about the distance from your elbow to your wrist).

3.  Use your eyes efficiently. If words are blurry, get your eyes checked by a professional. Don’t “say” what you read, and don’t re-read unnecessarily. Read phrases, not every single word.

4.  Increase your vocabulary by keeping a dictionary handy, maintaining a list of new words, and knowing the origin of words.

5.  Match your speed to the material you are reading. Know what and why you’re reading. Preview the material, especially when studying. Study reading requires closer, slower reading. For leisure reading you can go faster. Be sure you get the information in graphic aids and illustrations.

6.  To improve your reading speed, practice for about 15 to 30 minutes each day, checking your rate in words-per-minute. Check your comprehension by summarizing what you read. Ideally, you want to read faster while maintaining your understanding. Therefore, use the same type of materials each time you practice to provide the consistency needed for meaningful practice.