Resist premature cosmetic work

Because it is so easy to make superficial changes, it is tempting to make each draft technically perfect, with every comma in place, every word spelled correctly, every margin perfectly aligned. Then, because the paper looks so good, one becomes rather hesitant to change it further, even though the basic structure may need a major overhaul. A paper like this can be compared to a beautifully painted house with termites - lovely outside but unsound within. Trust us - it's unlikely to fool editors and reviewers.

Furthermore, because the manuscript looks so good, many people find it difficult to throw away unnecessary material. If you find you've strayed off course, and ended up with more verbiage or material than you really need, cut out the extra, no matter how hard you worked at it. Some writers save their trimmings in a separate "orphan" file. Adopting a similar approach could be useful in case you change your mind later.

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