How can I make the most out of my first draft?

When you read your first draft, you will probably make your most extensive revisions. Here are a few suggestions that can help you in reviewing your first draft.
  • If possible, leave some time between writing the first draft and reviewing it. Your objectivity will improve.
  • Try reading your paper aloud to yourself; sometimes your ear catches problems your eye misses.
  • Ask someone to read your draft and offer suggestions. Choose a reader you can trust to be honest and fair. And remember: You are looking for an objective opinion, not simply reassurance. Judge your reader's suggestions carefully, and decide for yourself their value, and whether or not to act on them.
  • Remember that nothing is unchangeable. Until preparation of your final draft, you can change your thesis, your organization, your emphasis, your tone, and so on. A review of your first draft should not be limited to minor mechanical errors.
  • Use a revision checklist to make sure you've reviewed your draft thoroughly.