Writing well is rewriting.

If you have written it once, you can write it again even better. I have heard that it is a good practice never to send an editor your first draft. When I write articles for the web, I like to take these steps:

-brainstorm titles

-outline major points

-write the article

-leave it alone for a few hours or a day

-edit and rewrite/revise

-leave it alone for a bit

-proofread and submit

It is amazing how leaving the article alone for a while gives me such a fresh look at the topic, the writing quality and the whole approach. Sometimes I end up doing complete overhauls of articles or changing the direction of the article. Some writers feel bad about abandoning good phrases/sentences/paragraphs from their drafts and try to work around those words when revising. I used to do this as well, but it is better to get rid of it if it doesn’t work with the new direction of the piece. If it makes you feel better, copy and paste it into a file and save it. If you want, you can create a single file of “throw-aways” that didn’t make any of the final cuts. You never know, you might be able to use them some day.

The point is, write and rewrite. Your best work will probably undergo several drafts, and that is the beauty of writing. Looking at your work with fresh eyes after a break or working on other things will improve your writing, guaranteed.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I find a useful trick is that when you re-read a piece, do it in a different location to where you wrote it. Somehow this helps you catch stuff, possibly because you can take on the mindset of a reader, whereas whenever you are at your computer/desk, you always have your writer head on.

  2. I find it helpful to read it out loud. Bad wording or even mangled grammar can be pretty jarring when it’s read out loud.

  3. I don’t think that reading out loud helps, practice maketh man perfect…

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