Tips for Writing a First Draft

The first draft of your writing is the foundation of the essay, article, or tutorial you are working on at the time. It is the starting point that everything builds on, and some say it is the most important step of all in the writing process. Whether you are writing essays for college applications, scholarships, or personal reference, you need to make sure you create the perfect first draft. Here are a few suggestions that could help you get through this part of the writing process.

Just Write

The easiest way to make it through a first draft is to just write. Don’t go back to make corrections on something that you’ve said. Just get through the full piece as if it were perfect from the start. This will ensure that all of your writing flows together because your thoughts will have a natural fluidity to them. All you have to do is get those thoughts down on paper. You can go back when you are finished and elaborate or condense according to what you need. This will just provide you with a starting point to build on.

Handwriting vs. Typing

Some people do well typing their first drafts, and others prefer to handwrite theirs. I’m not a naturally good typist, so I used to handwrite all of my drafts to avoid having to type them. This was faster for me at the time, and it helped me get all my thoughts out at the same speed my brain was coming up with them. Since I write online for a living now, I actually type faster than I write information by hand. Thus nowadays, it works in my favor to type rather than handwrite.

You have to determine which process is going to be better for you. You may like typing because it saves you from having to go back and type later on. You may like handwriting because of the connection you feel with the words that way. Whatever the case may be, you have to figure out which method is going to make writing your rough drafts as easy of a process as it can be.

Brainstorm First

If you are not the type of person that can just shoot out information right off the top of your head, you may want to brainstorm. There are a million ways you can do this, from writing an outline to creating a bubble chart. By getting thoughts down on paper in a sporadic but organized way, you will be able to come up with ideas for your first draft more easily as you write. You can either glance at your brainstorming information as you write, or you can have it in your head. Regardless of what you do, you will likely benefit from writing down all of your article information ahead of time.

“I’m Just Stuck”

If you feel like you are absolutely stuck on a certain section of your first draft, go to another section and come back to it. I used to hate writing intros because I just couldn’t think of what I wanted to say. I would actually write my conclusion first, and then figure out how to build up to it. You may have to do something similar to get through your first draft relatively easily.

Rewriting a First Draft

If you hate everything about your first draft, you may want to think about writing another one. Some people get caught up in the idea of fixing whatever it is they have on paper, but this could lead to a poor essay in the end. You have to know when a rough draft is beyond repair, and then you just have to pick up the pace to write something new. Don’t be afraid to throw a rough draft away if you think it could lead to something substantially better.