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Section 1 Foundations of Doctoral Study / Chapter 7 Preparing for Writing

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Developing an Editing Plan


Learners can easily develop a plan by beginning with the deadline—either an internal or self-imposed deadline as required of doctoral learners, or an external deadline required for assignments or publishing—calculate the number of days from the present time to the deadline. For longer writing projects, divide those days into cycles for four or five revision opportunities and allow the final two days of each set for reviewing and improving writing while using the remaining first days of the cycle for writing the draft. This allows for four or five full read-throughs and revisions. If decisions have been made to use peer reviewers and/or a professional editor, learners will want to build in extra editing timeframe for those processes. For example, a final draft that was assigned on June 2 with a due date of June 30 would have 28 days for writing and revisions. That equates to four cycles of 7 days in each cycle with the final two days of each cycle for editing. It is not uncommon to extend the length of the cycles for larger writing projects such as dissertations in order to allow for two to three weeks for editing purposes.


The first cycle might include the writing of the first draft and decision making regarding how and when editing will take place, as well as who will do the editing. The second through fourth cycles would include the implementation of editing and rewriting of the draft. Cycles 2 and 3 might incorporate a peer review or professional editor as tools to ensure that four cycles would be sufficient to accomplish the tasks of proofreading and editing. Since the learner bears the entire responsibility for the final intended content of the piece, the fourth or final writing and revision cycle requires a learner’s full attention to minute details and completing the writing and editing cycles.