aerial view rowing

Tips for revising your writing

Do you ever wish there was a simple process you could use to review what you have written and revise it step by step, without all that indecision and doubt?  The ideas below might be helpful. They apply to all kinds of academic writing: essays, reports, journal articles and chapters of a thesis.

How do I get started on revising my writing?

Alexandra Gold, who teaches on the Harvard Writing Program, has some helpful hints.

1. Keep your introduction brief and tightly focused. This makes it easier to then see what you should keep in the paper and what you should leave out.

2. Instead of throwing out what you won’t use, save it for a different piece of writing. (You will need to file it in a meaningful way so you can find it again).

3. Gold includes 3 ways you can step away from your writing to see it more objectively. She calls this defamiliarizing your work.

Any other tips?

When I looked further, numerous ideas came up from universities. One post was for an organisation which offered to write essays for students. If you want to avoid some common grammar errors, Lund University in Sweden offers some strong advice.

In some Middle Eastern cultures, poetry, rhetoric and the use of figurative language like metaphors are highly respected. While these have their place, in academic writing in the Western tradition we emphasise linear argumentation. Many Chinese writers, on the other hand, when introducing their research themes and hypotheses, tend to use rather complex and extended argumentation. These cultural differences are as intriguing for an editor as they are for a collaborative researcher, a teacher or a student. But more on that another time.