10 Tips for Writing a Rough First Draft (Guest Post)

Viewing the first attempt to write an article, blog post, or essay as “rough” can diminish the efforts made to communicate a unique perspective. Time invested in writing must be equal in effort and quality regardless of the perceived finality of the draft. Great writers sweat over every word to ensure each work is unique from the outset.

Every effort to improve a work must be invested from the excellence of the first attempt so progressive improvement is realised when new pieces are written in the future.

Follow these ten tips to write great first drafts that develop into exceptional written works worthy of publication.

  1. Research facts and figures – Initial research activities must be completed and all supporting facts and figures must be gathered prior to the creation of the outline. Valuable information is gleaned from every resource and can change the entire stance of the writer because of the available supporting information.
  2. Do not start writing too soon – Thoughts must develop prior to the start of the writing effort because the thoughts of others are encased in the research materials.

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    When the writer immediately makes the transition between research and writing, the first draft is choppy and wanders through a series of incoherent starts and stops. Plagiarism can be committed easily when the words of others have not been transformed into new thoughts and ideas.

  3. Build the rough draft from an outline – Simple writings that are fewer than 500 words can be written from an outline of three bullet points, but extensive pieces that are complex and contain many statistics require detailed outlines.

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    The writer who attempts to write without a developed framework will spend more time editing and rearranging than simply polishing the first draft.

  4. Write entire draft – Resist the temptation to read and reread the early points until the entire work is written. A cursory read through the most recently written paragraphs will provide a checkpoint for the writing efforts, but editing must wait until the entire work is written into the initial draft.
  5. Allow writing to drift from the outline – Thoughts flow when research efforts have been extensive. The adult mind will produce new thoughts as writing efforts are invested over long sessions of concentration. When new thoughts are written into a section that might stray from the outline, highlight the thought and continue writing. That unique thought might be the most important sentence within the piece and may need to be moved to a more appropriate place. Strict adherence to the outline makes the writing flat and runs the risk of losing the reader’s interest.
  6. Keep thoughts flowing – Some writers use a voice recorder because their thoughts flow more freely, and then someone else types their recording. Other writers still write out their first drafts on paper with a pen to gauge their pace and allow thoughts to form. Still others type faster than they write so to keep their thoughts from being stifled, they use a word processor and type out every thought as quickly as it comes to mind. Whichever method works best, employ the one that suits your preference. Use a slower method if more thought is necessary on a given subject.
  7. Observe rules of grammar and punctuation – Many people recommend setting aside the best practices of using all the rules associated with writing the English language. While this may speed the creation of the first draft, all editing efforts will be much more difficult because of the extensive restructuring that will be required. Perfect writing skills are developed from perfect practice in writing. Great musicians never throw out the rules of music theory because great music is required during performance.
  8. Quality – Treat the first draft with the same care as the final draft to reduce the efforts required to polish the final product. When each draft of the work is considered easy to throw away, the writing effort becomes frustrating and mundane because of the extensive rework. Excellence is important in each phase to make each work progressively better than the last.
  9. Take breaks when thoughts wane – Short breaks during a long day of writing will rejuvenate the mind and body. Walk around the room or run a couple of flights of stairs to get the blood moving more freely and reduce the risk of leg cramps. If writer’s block sets in to the mind, read something else for a while to get the thoughts moving again. The human mind loves challenges that spark new thoughts so feed the mind something new to process until the block is moved. Call a friend and have a good laugh before proceeding. Do not wait too long to start writing again because procrastination is not far behind.
  10. Do not overwork the first half – Just as the entire draft must be written before editing is started, the editing efforts must be spread evenly over the written product. Push yourself to start in the middle or where you left off in previous sessions to write the second half with the same focus and effort. Mark each place that you stopped for breaks or until the next day to ensure smooth transitions.

Whenever a rough draft must be written, invest the writing time as though it is limited and precious because it is. No one has time to do anything twice, so make your best effort on the first pass through the material. Editing efforts can be minimised by following these steps and holding high expectations of your writing time. When working with others, encourage each person contributing to the work to write well the first time to reduce the editing efforts.

James Adams is a writer at Cartridge Save, one of the UK’s leading online printer supplies specialists, where he analyses and reviews printer ink cartridges.

Cite this page

10 Tips for Writing a Rough First Draft (Guest Post). (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/writing-a-rough-first-draft-24603-new-essay

10 Tips for Writing a Rough First Draft (Guest Post)

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