There are only two ways a writer can estimate how a sentence will ring in the reader’s head: She can write it, and she can read it.
Thousands of times, I’ve moved a line down from the existing paragraph only to type it again in exactly the same way. It’s a different kind of exercise in empathy. Reading a sentence is one thing. Typing it another. Both can allow you to inch a little deeper into the reader’s head.
Of course, retyping sentences also affords you the chance to change some words indeed. Will you use a synonym here this time? Or will — and should it — come out just as it was? Sometimes, you can only truly grasp how a string of words rings the second time around — and that counts for reading them as much as it does for writing them.
In a time when you can not only cut, copy, paste, revert, and undo your work with a single button but actually have the computer draft a sentence for you, then edit it ad infinitum, it’s easy to choose to do less manual labor, not more. It’s also a time when doing the latter might make all the difference.
When the sentence doesn’t sound quite right, type it again — and when the world screams at you to ship more stuff faster, remember that attention and care are never wasted, no matter how loudly the song of mediocrity plays.