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What do you typically imagine when you think of revising your paper? We guess it’s not in the top 10 fun activities you enjoy, and we doubt it will even make it to the top 20. Though we can’t make you love revising and editing, what we can do is to show you some good ways of revising, and you will find out that you don’t even need to like the process. It’s like vacuuming the floor – boring, but once you put some music on and pretend you are a rock star, you won’t notice when you’ve vacuumed every corner in the house.
Good Ways to Revise Your Paper Without Any Stress
1. Revise your paper within a limited amount of time.
Set an alarm clock and a goal to reduce the volume of your paper by one-third by the time the alarm goes off. The slight tension and pressure that setting an alarm creates will help you be more critical towards your writing and not to dwell on each and every sentence. It’s absolutely normal to feel annoyed of the fact you need to cut sentences from the paper you’ve been working so hard on, and this doesn’t mean you’re bad at revising. If you are trying to revise your paper at all, you’re better at revising than most of your peers. 🙂
The first paragraph contains 103 words, the second one – 91. As you can see, the volume of the paragraph was reduced almost by 10% just by removing repeating and redundant constructions. Of course, this means that you may need to write some more arguments to meet the word count standard, but we are aiming for quality, not quantity, right?
2. Reshuffle the pages, read backwards, etc.
When you are working on a project, your brain develops a certain path of thinking and analyzing the problem. Actually, it does this in every aspect of your life to minimize the effort you need to put in managing everyday life, so you won’t become crazy because of all the decisions and efforts you have to make every day, such as walking to college this way or that. However, habitual actions can be harmful when it comes to creative work. Since your brain follows the same path, you won’t notice any flaws and mistakes in your own paper, like you may not notice a large oak tree you pass every day on your way to college. This is why looking on your work from a different perspective and attempting to break usual patterns of editing are good ways to revise.
Let’s say this is a piece of text you need to revise:
And now here’s the same piece of text broken into small phrases so your mind won’t follow a standard path:
We bet now you notice mistakes and typos, don’t you?
3. Don’t try to make it perfect, try to make it good.
It’s obvious that many students struggle with motivation when it comes to academic writing and, even more so, revising and editing. When you are writing a paper, this is at least a creative process somehow, but when you come to the revision stage, this is plainly boring. But there’s a way you can make it significantly better – by realizing that your paper doesn’t have to be perfect. One of the most popular reasons that prevents students from implementing good ways of revising is the fear that it is not going to work out well no matter what. No one expects your paper to be perfect – all in all, this is not a Noble prize acceptance speech!
Quick Useful Tips for Revision
Okay, unless you genuinely enjoy checking your own writing for the tiniest mistakes, revising is boring and excruciating. It requires a lot of concentration, and people who are bad at revising usually are bad at concentration. Here are some quick tips to tame your creative spirit and make it work for your academic success, at least this time.
- Uncomfortable conditions help you to stay concentrated.
- Find a perfect white noise track that keeps you irritated, yet not too much.
- A moderate level of stress is useful for your concentration. Find your perfect zone.
- You need to be a little hungry to concentrate best.
- If you can’t help but be distracted every five minutes or so, try to bring your attention back or at least don’t snap into other actions like checking your phone – just sit there until the focus comes back.
- If you are an A type personality, tell everyone that you are going to edit your paper – therefore you will be motivated to perform.
- Don’t trick yourself into thinking that reading ten articles about good ways of revising will do the trick, usually two or three articles are more than enough.
- Remember that you won’t be perfect from the first time, concentration and attention are also skills that have to be learned.
- If you have time, reread your paper several hours – or even better – days after you’ve finished it.
- Try breaking up the usual path your brain follows. Read the conclusion first, then jump to an abstract, then check the bibliography, etc. It will help your focus to stay sharp.
- If you need a motivation, consider buying yourself a treat if you do a good job, but only if you do a REALLY good job.
- If you are not so sure about your willpower regarding social media, ask one of your friends or relatives to run a controlling app and tell you the password only after you show them edited work. You will definitely be irritated, but this will do the trick.
Do you have some secret good ways to revise that have been handed from generation to generation in your family? Share them in the comments section to help fellow student deal with their revising problems. Also, it’s a good thing to know that there are always people (for example – us) who are ready to help you in a desperate situation. For sure, waiting until the last minute and then trying to write your paper out of thin air may not be the most effective strategy of learning, but life does not always follow the plan you have for it. We are sure you can master the art of editing your papers once you have enough time and energy for it, but if you don’t, we are ready to provide you with a good example and save your nerves. You’ll need them later! 🙂