When you are beginning to write, you gather as much data as you can. You continually add allied thoughts. . You use your right brain, creative side.
So when you have an idea and your mind says, “not relevant to my core subject,” you ignore doubt. You don’t cross anything out. You behave as magpie.
To polish your copy, you do opposite.Here’s how: shut door and banish distractions. Read your copy v e r y s l o w l y and concentrate.
Better still, read copy out loud s l o w l y. If reading out loud is impractical say words to yourself soundlessly. The instant you sense “this shouldn’t be here,” cross it out.Trust your first judgement. Trust your first judgement.
What “shouldn’t be here?”. Any material that is superfluous, because you’ve said it before in a different way. Or because it is not central to your main argument.
You should be removing words as well as ideas. You want to communicate in as few words as possible. Shorter is better. Shorter is richer. Shorter is more bang for your reader’s buck. Short sentences are easy to read and understand.
If you are fond of a certain sentence, but you know deep down it is not relevant here’s a tip to help you excise. Create a heading at end of your draft called “overmatter.” Whenever you are not sure whether to cut or leave a sentence, cut and paste it into overmatter.