One of the things that can help your writing a great deal is to read your work aloud. Preferably not in a crowded room but somewhere you can be alone. Employ listening skills to critique your own work.
Some people might feel silly reading their writing out loud in an empty room. After all, they figure that they wrote it, they should know what it says. Right? Yes, but only to a certain extent. I guarantee that you will hear your story or poem or essay differently than when you just read over your edited copy.
You'll catch typos and misspellings and improper punctuation. You might find yourself breathless after reading an especially long sentence that has no commas in it. Those commas give us a natural break spot. You might spot a missed period or end mark of some kind on an occasional sentence.
Another thing that will suddenly be very evident is the flow and rhythm of your piece. You'll see the places that need work in that respect. There will be spots that appear to bog down. Something like that shows up better reading aloud than if you just silently read it to yourself. You'll see places that need a short sentence to break up a series of long sentences. You'll see where you need a break or a where there should be two paragraphs rather than one.
It is especially beneficial to read poetry aloud--for many of the same reasons pointed out above. It may sound totally different from a version you read silently.
In summary, read your work out loud to:
Catch mechanical errors
- Look for natural break points
- Check the rhythm and flow
- Find places that slow down the entire piece
- Find places that need a short sentence between long ones