If you tried to compose any kind of text at some point during your study, you probably know that it takes much focus and effort to do it right. This is probably why there are so many articles and books devoted to upgrading one’s writing skills with numerous tips and suggestions. They teach you to be more creative, to make drafts, to proofread more, to practice free flow of thoughts, etc. Out of all the popular writing suggestions, we would like to highlight the most helpful one, which is - rewriting is the best tool for improving your writing.
Such approach is rather ambiguous in its nature, and it is preferred by some, and avoided by others. Indeed, some opt for a careful consideration of every word while writing, which helps them to succeed from the first draft, while others feel more comfortable with writing down everything that comes to mind to edit and rearrange it later. Both approaches have their pros and cons, which will be shown in this article.
Nailing It Right Away
For those who have an excellent command of the language and enough writing experience, it may be better to try and complete the paper from the first attempt. With a deep knowledge of the subject and a well-prepared outline, it can be done easily.
However, writing the paper right away does not mean that no proofreading is needed: you will need to go through every sentence and revise it if needed. As a rule, small errors, such as typos, misspelled words, wordiness, grammar and formatting issues need to be checked upon, so it is better to go through your text once or twice after it had been completed.
The mentioned approach is suitable for small pieces of writing that do not require a complex structure or a particularly sophisticated language. This includes blog posts, small articles, informal letters, short stories, descriptions, etc. In other words, such writings should evolve around one or two main ideas and have a clear simple structure. In case more ideas and arguments need to be addressed, they will require a different writing approach that involves rewriting.
If you aim to write a long article, a story, or even a book, it will take you much more time and much more writing activities than in case of short pieces. For instance, preparing a book is done in several stages, such as plot design, characters’ development, formation of scenery, scheming out the structure of the story, etc. The whole process may take months, or, in some cases, even years, and it involves a lot of rewriting.
Clearly, the best way to express ideas is to actually put them down, and in case of book writing, you need to go with the flow rather than focus on every sentence separately. In other words, content is more important than the form at the very first stage of writing, and paying too much attention to the form, e.g. correct formulations and sentence structures, can make the whole process slower and less efficient.
Due to this, the best approach here is to write some text and rewrite it several times. With every new rewriting you can rearrange the ideas, elaborate on some sentences, add some new details, or remove the parts that are unsuitable. The number of rewritings is unlimited, so you can rephrase and rearrange the text as many times as needed, which will finally lead you to the desired result.
How to Use the Rewriting Technique
For those who decided to opt for rewriting, here is a step-by-step plan of work:
- First draft: This should be just a flow of thoughts, with a little punctuation added. At this stage, it is not advisory to reread the sentence or paragraph; just keep writing until you finish the planned section.
- Review: Once the draft is ready, it looks voluminous and messy, and the ideas might be scattered and unorganized. Thus, your task is to look it through and see what needs to be rearranged. Some parts can be removed at this stage of work, and it is helpful to make certain notes about the things that need to be changed in the next writing session.
- Rewrite: take the first draft and rewrite it, reformulating sentences and changing the structure of the whole text if needed. Make the alterations based on the notes you have taken. Some parts of the text may be left unchanged, and some may be removed.
- Revise: read the draft, smooth out the descriptions, check the flow in sentences. You may revise the dialogue, check the facts, and double-check your descriptions.
- Proofreading: check if the format is proper, if there are no grammatical errors, if the use of words is correct, and if the structure of the whole work is clear and coherent. Also, make sure that the style is enhanced with suitable tools.
In fact, the first three steps of this plan may be replayed as many times as needed. You should be guided by your senses, and if you feel that a certain part is finished, leave it, and if it needs to be rewritten, keep doing it until you are fully satisfied with the result.
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Follow Tips on How to Effectively Rewrite a Text Found on the Internet
If a student decides to copy some information from the Internet resources and use them in an essay or a research paper, he/ she should be ready that a professor will easily find that information online as well. Such unacceptable and irresponsible treatment of writing assignments often leads to total fails in academic excellence. Therefore, if you decide to copy some existent research into your paper and pretend as if it was written by you, be ready that you will be severely punished for plagiarism and will need to rewrite it from scratch. At the same time, even if you rewrite the information in other words, keep in mind that poor rewriting will also show high percentage of plagiarism and you will also need to rewrite the writing assignment.
One of the core techniques is to change the order of paragraphs. However, pay attention to the fact that the order can not always be changed: if the article that you are going to rewrite develops some argument, then the order should remain the same. If the paragraphs just provide some information, then their order can be easily changed. The other strategy is to delete some information from the paragraphs (or the whole paragraphs) and add some new information written on your own.
Pay Attention to Quotations
If you simply rewrite quotations from the original article (or other source you are using), your teacher will definitely notice it. In case the quotation is a must in your paper, try to look for some other suitable quotes taken from other sources. Another option is to shorten it or paraphrase (if there is no strict requirement to provide a direct quote in the essay).
Move On to the Sentence Structure
If you think that rewriting is an easy thing and a thesaurus or a synonym dictionary is always there to help you, you are deeply mistaken. It is not enough simply to change the words – you should make sure they are appropriate to the academic style and paper content. The words you add or change should make sense. Therefore, think of not only rewriting separate words but also paraphrasing sentences instead.
If you provide any quotes or citations, you should definitely include references. Do not include sources into the bibliography if you did not consult or cited them in your paper. To add sources to the bibliography, think of including your class materials or sources that were already covered by you. Another option is to search the library database and find sources relevant to your topic.
Look Through the Paper
Even after you have rewritten the sentences, words, phrases or whole paragraphs, your final rewritten text might still make little sense. Therefore, proofreading and editing are a must. Check on whether the paper is coherent and logical and whether it is free from plagiarism.