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Viewing Your Manuscript with Fresh Eyes

By Barbara Gastel | Nov. 22, 2015  | Research writing Research skills

Greetings again. I hope you’re doing well.

As noted in AuthorAID workshops and blog posts, revision is an important part of the writing process. Even a short piece of writing can require several drafts to achieve its potential.

Yet revising one’s own writing can be difficult, in part because the writing is so familiar. How can you make the writing seem new to yourself, so you can more easily notice and correct problems in it? Here are a few suggestions:

  • If time permits, set the writing aside for a while. Doing so for at least a day may be ideal. But even an hour can help. When you return, you may view your writing with fresh eyes.
  • If you have been viewing your manuscript only on a computer screen, print it out if you can. Problems that you had not noticed may become apparent.
  • Change the look of the manuscript. For example, change the typeface. Or increase the margins, so that the text appears in a narrow column. Maybe change the color of the text, or print the text on colored paper.
  • If your manuscript is long, perhaps spread the pages out on a table. You may then more easily notice problems such as inadvertently starting many paragraphs with the same phrase.
  • Read the writing aloud. Doing so can help in identifying duplicated words, omissions of words, and awkward phrasing.

I hope that some of these suggestions will aid in preparing to revise your writing. If you have suggestions to add, please post a comment.

Until the next post—


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