When writing academic papers, I'm really bad at improving what I have already written. I have heard stories about how most of the time in writing should be spent on rewriting what one has already written. I know a few academics who are really good at keep revising until they are happy, but I simply can't. It is very frustrating to feel that a sentence/paragraph/section can be improved, but not being able to do so.
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 I'm writing with collaborators (which is almost always the case), 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 of my own writing when reading it. Even after I re-read it, it is not always clear what the current state of the paper is.
I'm 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 only seriously written in English. My field is science and engineering.