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TIP 6: In Revision, Be Prepared To Rethink, Reprioritize, Reorganize, and Rephrase

In Revision, be prepared to Rethink, Reprioritize, Reorganize, and Rephrase - usually in that order.

  • Remember: Good writing is good rewriting.
  • It is most efficient to begin revisions with large scale issues (what topics to include, sequence of ideas, supportive evidence)
  • Then move down to smaller scale issues (paragraph organization, then sentence structure).

This sequence is most efficient for revising your own documents. It is even more valuable when giving feedback to colleagues or trainees on their writing. If you find many things in a colleague's document that need revision, first give feedback on the ideas and organization, and save feedback on stylistic matters for a second round of revision. Giving too much feedback at too many levels can overwhelm the recipient. Moreover, stylistic feedback should be saved until the document is ready for polishing, or you will spend time editing material that doesn't really belong in the paper.