by Caitlin S.
The semester is almost over, finally. The only thing that remains is your last essay, which you’ve just finished writing. Congratulations, you made it! Although you are tired, ink-stained and finger-bruised, you’re not quite finished. The final step, editing, is painful, but it’s also worth it. Not only will editing dramatically improve your essay, it’s the best way to continue growing as a writer by learning more about your strengths and weaknesses. Below are a few tips for the last stage in the writing process. Hang in there. You’re almost done.
Because you don’t want to spend any more time writing or adding information to your essay (you just spent several sleepless hours doing that), it’s tempting to just edit your paper for basic grammatical mistakes. Avoid the temptation and look at each of your sentences critically. It’s a great way to catch overly-broad statements, vague sentences and irrelevant material. Although it’s painstaking and frustrating, your content will be dramatically stronger in the end.
You probably learned a lot about yourself as a writer over the course of the semester. You know how to best plan, research and write better than anyone else. That self-knowledge, however, can sometimes make it more difficult for you to catch your own errors. Give yourself a few hours of break before you look at your essay. Even though you may be reading your paper for the millionth time, the time break can give you a fresh look at your paper to catch the sneakier errors
You need an activity to fill your time during your break before you continue editing. The end of the semester is a great time to forage for free food. The horticulture club has free pizza regardless of whether you’re actually a member. Just show up to a club meeting and if they ask who you are, look offended. Besides, your TigerCard is running out.
Keep your chin up; once you make it through these few final assignments/essays/exams, Winter Break will be yours for the taking!