As many authors have said, "writing is rewriting." Indeed, we have implied that the only reason you write first draft is so that you have something to rewrite. Below are six tips for rewriting--and thus writing--well.
  1. After writing something, take a break before going back to revise it.
  2. As you revise it, read it aloud to yourself or to a friend.
  3. Ask "What should I cut?" In everyday conversation, you can probably think of things you should not have said or that you did not need to say. In your writing, you get a chance to take out the irrelevant and stupid parts before anyone sees them--and you need to get rid of the unnecessary parts because your readers are impatient. Although you should be weeding out needless words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs everywhere, be especially aggressive when pruning the first page of any assignment. Ripping out most of the first page is vital because (a) it often will not be until you have written at least half of a page before you start getting to the point and (b) your first page is where you make your first impression.
  4. Ask "What do I need to add?" In everyday conversation, you can see whether your audience understands what you are saying, and your audience can tell you that they do not follow your logic or know what you mean. In writing, you do not have that luxury.
  5. Look for long paragraphs than can be broken into smaller paragraphs. If a paragraph takes up more than 3/4 of a page, it probably needs to be revised.
  6. Realize that every draft can be improved. If you do not think your first draft can be improved, you have a serious problem (to understand why, learn about the Dunning-Kruger effect).