I am in the process of drafting an article with two colleagues, and am attempting to polish my part as much as possible before sharing it with them. However, after staring at it for hours and reading it out loud multiple times, I am in need of a fresh perspective.
I wonder about other options that may allow me to examine my own work in a different light. This leads me to do a little research where I come across a Nieman Storyboard post on this very topic. In addition to mentioning reading the work aloud and walking away from it for a while, there is a suggestion to change the font or text color – thus creating a different perspective for the brain. Happy to try a new approach to at least temporarily spice up my somewhat dry scientific writing, I begin experimenting with color by highlighting phrases that sound awkward. Then I vary the font to highlight other areas that require editing. I find this to be more distracting, so decide to stick with color changes for the moment.
Using color allows me to focus on specific areas that are giving me trouble. Rather than rereading an entire paragraph or section, I work with my “problem” phrases or sentences, and then make sure that they flow with the rest of the work. Although I was uncertain about this experiment at first, I feel like this exercise helps me to focus on one small piece at a time instead of trying to fix every area all at once. Now to find a color that tells my brain to stop procrastinating and get back to editing!
Virtual Writing Center Peer Consultant