Writing is a process that starts before and goes beyond the part where you crank out your first draft. In fact, as a college essay writer, you have probably heard a million times that true writing only takes place when you are re-writing. This is why published novelists employ the services of a team of editors to ensure that their writing is going in the right direction. You probably cannot afford to hire your own editors yet, but you can and should edit your own essay before turning it in.
The following is not a rigid, step-by-step guide to editing your own work. Editing, after all, is flexible and depends entirely on how satisfied you are with how you write.
1. Do not edit until it is time.
The most important thing you have to do when writing your first draft is to establish the main skeleton for your essay. If you are a conscientious writer, your reader will not see your first draft because it will go through the editing and revising phases, which are separate from the drafting phase. When writing the first draft, resist the urge to edit what you have done so far. Simply continue writing until you have reached the end. If there are parts that you want to change, take note of them in a separate document and use that as a guide later on when you reach the editing phase.
2. Step away from your essay when it is done.
This is one piece of advice that cannot be emphasized enough. This is also the reason why it is important for you to set aside a considerable amount of time when writing your essay instead of waiting until the last minute. Taking time to step out from the world you have been so absorbed in allows you to have a set of fresh eyes to re-evaluate your essay. If you do not, the tendency is to overlook the parts that might have done better if you changed them.
3. Take note of your common mistakes.
Some writers have a penchant for using the passive voice. Others may have a tendency to write more than they really need to. Still, others may need to tone down their use of highfalutin words and flowery sentences. Whatever it is, you likely have your own collection of problematic writing habits that tend to get in your way when you become too absorbed in your writing. Make a list of all these little quirks that you should get rid of and watch out for them when you begin to edit.
4. Have others read your work.
You may not be able to afford a professional editor, but you can enlist the help of other people whom you believe can provide some constructive advice about how to improve your essay. This can be anybody, from your roommate, an English teacher or a friend with a major in English. Ask them to take a look at your essay and tell you what they think of it. Chances are they will notice at least one thing that you were not able to pay attention to when you were writing the first draft.