Those who have gone through the ecstasies and agonies of writing an essay knows the satisfaction (and often the sadness) of finishing. Once you’ve done all the work of figuring out what you want to express, coming to an arguable and thesis that is interesting analyzing your evidence, organizing your opinions, and contending with counter-arguments, you might feel that you have nothing left to do but run spell-check, print it out and await your professor’s response. Exactly what spell- check can not discern is really what real readers might think or feel once they read your essay: where they could become confused, or annoyed, or bored, or distracted. Anticipating those responses may be the job of an editor—the job you take on as you edit your very own work.
While you proceed, understand that sometimes what may seem like a small problem can mask (be a manifestation of) a more substantial one. A poorly-worded phrase—one that seems, say, unclear or vague—may just need some tweaking to correct; however it may indicate that your particular thinking has not developed fully yet, that you’re not quite sure what you need to express. (more…)