The best way to write great articles, essays, and research papers is to edit and revise until you can edit and revise no more! These tips for rewriting apply to all types of writing — from nonfiction papers to short stories. Knowing how to edit and revise is the key to being a successful writer (or earning an “A” on that essay or research paper!). These tips are from published authors, freelance writers, and writing coaches.

But first, a quip from two famous published writers:

“Omit needless words,” say Strunk and White in Elements of Style — a must-have guide to good writing.

But, omitting needless words is easier said than done — and the trick is determining which words are needless. To learn more about revising your work, refer to The Elements of Style regularly. And, here are several editing, revising, and rewriting tips from successful writers…

Tips for Editing and Revising Articles, Essays, and Research Papers

Take a break from your writing before editing and revising. “After getting your basic ideas onto screen or paper, pull back.  Shift your focus in a small way.  Pour yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea; check your email; or, if time permits, go for a short walk.  Return later and try to look at what you’ve written as if you’ve never seen it before–you’ll be surprised at your perspective.  This technique was especially valuable to me when writing my own books.” – Tracey McBride, book author and blogger.

Write as tightly as possible. “See how many words you can take out and still have it say the same thing.” – Bella Stander, a book publicity consultant.

Let your writing flow. “When you write, don’t stop – don’t self-edit as you go along, just write, even if you think it’s junk.” – Penny C. Sansevieri, a writer’s coach.

Use effective transitions. “The best writing tip I ever received was simply to make sure every sentence naturally flows from the one previous to it.” – GL Hoffman

Let your writing gel.  “I leave all copy for 24 hours or at least overnight. By waiting to reread, I am more likely to see errors, typos or vague generalizations.” – Nicole Amsler, freelance copywriter

Let someone else edit your articles, essays, or research papers. “An editor told me, “The best way to improve as a writer is to have someone rip your work to shreds.” As a journalism professor, I agree. You can’t be married to your words. You need to be open to feedback and even harsh criticism. In fact, you should invite it. It will make you a better writer.” – Mark Grabowski.

Get used to rewriting, revising, editing. “When I took a creative writing class in college I heard some bad news.  On the first day, our professor informed us that 90% of all good writing is (gasp!) re-writing!   I did not want to believe him at the time. But, hard experience has taught me the truth of this statement.” – Tracey McBride, book author and blogger.

Distance yourself from your work. “A renewed mind brings renewed objectivity. Nothing else makes me as quickly aware of the places for improvement in my text than to remove myself temporarily–overnight, for the a.m. or p.m., or even for 15 minutes.” – Niki Anderson, author and speaker

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If you have any questions or thoughts on revising or rewriting, please comment below…

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