Revision: Revising the Whole

Write the first draft as quickly as you can, leaving yourself time to revise carefully after putting it aside for a day or two, if possible; if you are pressed for time, put the draft aside for as long as you can, even an hour or two. With the passage of time, it will be much easier to see your writing as another reader would see it. Also, you will be more likely to see what you actually wrote instead of what you meant to write.

The first task of the revision process is to print a hard copy of your essay draft. Reading the hard copy through is better than looking at partial views of your essay on your computer screen because doing so encourges tinkering rather than addressing global, structural concerns. You don't want to spend all the time you have for revision endlessly tidying up sections of your work without considering how these sections might be rearranged or more closely connected to make up a whole. As well, studies have shown that we tend to see more grammatical and punctuation errors on paper than we do on a screen. Keep this is mind when you revise your resume or cv as well.

Revision begins by considering the global level of your essay: its topic, thesis, and organization; and the voice you have used to present your ideas.

Checklist: Revising the Whole

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