If you've finished writing your paper, congratulations! BUT WAIT! You're not finished, yet. There's still more work to do.
Look at it this way: Suppose you are a woodworker, and a client has ordered a custom-built chair. You've made the parts and put the chair together, but it's not ready for delivery yet. You need to test it, to make sure it can hold up when someone sits on it. You need to sand it, to make sure there are no splinters or rough edges that will injure your client or ruin his clothes. You need to stain or seal the wood to protect it, and then polish it until it shines. After this important work has been accomplished, you're finally ready to deliver your product.
The same is true with your paper. Before it's ready to turn in, you need to:
- Test it - does it make sense? Have you supported your arguments? Is your research adequate?
- Sand it - are there spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors that could interfere with the smooth communication of your ideas?
- Polish it - format your paper in the style recommended or required by your professor.
Your paper is not ready for "delivery" until all these steps have been accomplished. For the first two steps, see the boxes below. To put the final polish on your paper, see Step 13 in the Research Planning Guide.
Here are some links to other websites that discuss the importance of revising and rewriting your original draft:
Why Write Several Drafts? - great advice on editing and proofreading, from DeMontfort University.
Revising Drafts - strategies for effective revisions, from the University of North Carolina.
Revising the Draft - from Harvard, this site offers excellent suggestions for revising, plus a great example of revisions from E.B. White.