By On Oct 05, 2018 Form Templates
A common shortcoming of green or hurried researchers, especially when a project is slightly overdue, is to turn in an interim draft in the hope of getting preliminary feedback. That can be ruinous. What busy supervisor wants to read serial drafts? Besides, you should never turn in tentative work—its better to be a little late than wrong. That goes for turning in projects to impatient clients as well. But keep your supervisor (and, if warranted, your client) updated on the status of your work.
The late Judge David Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was a stickler for super-tight prose. Once, when his student clerk, Eugene Gelernter (now a New York City litigator), brought him a draft opinion, the great judge said: "Nice draft, Gene. Now go back and read it again. Take out every paragraph you dont need, then every sentence you dont need. Then go back and take out every word you dont need. Then, when you are done with that, go back and start the whole process all over again." We should all have such a mentor.
If you ever find yourself getting sick of looking at your work product and starting to do something rash such as throwing your hands up and just turning it in at that moment, pull yourself up short. Give it a good dramatic reading. Out loud. You will still find some slips and rough patches—and you will be glad you did. Better that you find the problems than your readers do. Learn the lesson that mutilating and reworking your own first drafts actually builds your ego as a writer and editor.
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