When writing academic papers, I am really bad at improving what I have already written. I have heard that most of the time writing should be allotted to revisions. I know a few academics who are really good at keeping on revising until they are happy, but I simply can't do it. Knowing that a sentence/paragraph/section can be improved but not being able to do so is very frustrating.
My partial self-diagnosis:
- I refuse to make big changes, probably since it is a lot of work. (This sounds like I'm just procrastinating.)
- If write with collaborators (almost always), I do not want to change what they wrote or revised, unless it is obviously wrong. (This sounds like I lack confidence in my writing skills. Or I just don't want to upset my coauthors?)
- Before rewriting, I can't even re-read properly. I don't want to re-read the paper carefully and create a current copy of it in my head. I tend to skip parts. Even after I have re-read the manuscript, it is not always clear what the current state of the paper is.
I am sure I have many weaknesses that I am failing to verbalize in this question, but I'd like to hear what others did to train their rewriting skills. Also, I want to hear how you rewrite.
FYI, I am not a native speaker of English but I have seriously written only in English. My field is science and engineering.