I like the term writing repair when it comes to proofreading and editing. While some dismiss it because of the negative connotations (i.e. your writing is broken), I actually find it to be a more practical way to look at things. When you write that first draft, there’s a good chance you’re leaving a bunch of bad things in and it’s your job to fix them.
Your first draft is always broken in some way. Sure, you might feel good about this particular draft and the words may have felt like they really flowed. Set it aside for a day before reviewing, however, and there’s a chance you’ll feel very differently.
How much “fixing” should you do? It depends on how much time you can afford to invest.
- If you’re in a rush (e.g. the paper’s due in two hours), then a lot of revision probably isn’t in your best interest. A more sensible approach would be to rely solely on tools like a grammar checker and a style software to help polish up your text.
- If you have a bit more time, combining the use of software and some manual review is always best. Use the English software to take care of mechanical things, like grammar, spelling and stylebook adherence, all while manually reviewing for form, logic, paragraph organization and other higher-level concerns.