Writing the First Draft: The Why, What and How

Many authors find it difficult to begin writing, and once they do, they stop after penning a few phrases and revise them until they are perfect. It is a form of postponement, but it's a difficult habit to acknowledge and change because it requires wr...

Writing the First Draft: The Why, What and How


Many authors find it difficult to begin writing, and once they do, they stop after penning a few phrases and revise them until they are perfect. It is a form of postponement, but it's a difficult habit to acknowledge and change because it requires writing. Following these eight stages will help you finish a content-rich flawed first draught while avoiding the temptation of perfectionism.

You've decided to write something to advertise your company. You're sitting at a computer with a blank page in front of you. You don't want to write dull rubbish, but you're at a loss for words. It's a horrible sensation, and for many individuals, it's enough to make them give up. But you aren't here to give up. You've come to get things done. If you follow the advice, you'll be able to fill that blank page in no time. Ready?

You have various alternatives for writing a fuller draft now that you have a topic and a working thesis.

Simply put, write. At least one focusing notion has already occurred to you. Begin there. What are your thoughts on the subject? What associations can you draw from it? What points could you use to support your working thesis, if you have one?

Make a rough sketch. Write out your theme or thesis, and then jot down any points that can help to flesh out or support that topic or thesis. These don't need to be in great detail. They don't even have to be whole sentences (for the time being)!

Begin by conducting research. If your assignment requires you to research to support your arguments or learn more about your subject, conducting such research is a vital first step (see the "Information Literacy" section for additional information). This could entail conducting an interview, producing and running a survey, or searching the Internet and library databases for papers.

Research is an important first step because discovering what knowledge is accessible about your issue from reliable sources can occasionally lead to your thesis being shifted. Saving research till a later stage of the writing process can mean making this modification after devoting significant time and effort to a thesis that isn't supported by solid research. Learning what knowledge is accessible about your issue can also help you flesh out what you'd like to say about it, which is why research is beneficial.

Make a Broad Outline of Your Main Point

If you're producing a paper or report, start by defining the major issues your initiative aims to address. Outline how they will be (or were) solved in a few sentences, then describe the most important discoveries. Create a broad foundation to which you may add more depth in later iterations. What, who, how, where, when, and why should be summarized?

Don't attempt to write flawlessly; instead, focus on making notes, headers, and bullet points that will help you figure out where you're headed with your writing. Before you begin writing, you should have a clear notion of what you want to write about and why you want to write it. In most cases, the "why" is more significant than the "what" regarding site content.

You may then go on to the method – the "how" – of creating that material once you've locked things down. But first, let's go through the basics. There's no purpose in doing anything if you don't know why you're doing it.

What is Your Mission, or "Why"?

Each article and the web page you create should have a purpose, which means you should keep in mind the primary point that makes the information important to you and your readers. Your audience will find you important because they will learn something, regard you as a thought leader, be entertained, save time or money, and so on.

The Author's No-Nonsense Guide

Do you require assistance in drafting the first draught?

I recently wrote the first draft of a book chapter that smelled so horrible that I had to read it out of the office window. My earliest draughts are for myself only, and yours should be as well. You may lack confidence or be uninspired by what you're going to accomplish as you sit down to compose the first draught. Nobody needs to know if you pin one to the page or if procrastination pins you to the chair today since you're alone grappling with your thoughts and stories. Even accomplished authors don't always create terrific first draughts. They care more about getting the thoughts out of their minds and onto the blank paper. They understand that they can improve their work in the future via a rewrite or editing process. It's very normal to feel as though you're writing with a crayon in your mouth. While writing on the first draught, most successful authors rarely have flashes of inspiration and flawless prose. Instead, there's a dedicated individual pounding away at their novel, one phrase at a time, checking their word count or the time, and thinking to themselves, "It'll do for now." I'm on the verge of completing my task. Later, I'll be able to correct it."

Anthony Trollope, a 19th-century English novelist, wrote 47 books in his lifetime, two dozen of which were published while he worked at the General Post Office. They put forth the effort because writing is a profession for them, not a pastime. They write many bad first draughts compared to amateurs, learning what works and what doesn't.

Now, I'm no Antony Trollope, but here's how I tackled a daunting first draught for a nonfiction book. I go to a quiet room, workplace, library, or coffee shop to get some work done.

I brew/order a cup of coffee, depending on my location.

I turn off the Internet on my pc.

I activated airplane mode on my phone.

I start Scrivener.

For the chapter in question, I create an outline.

I set a 30-minute timer for myself.

I write without stopping to edit myself, keeping my fingers going (this is harder than it sounds).

I stand up and take a two-minute break when the buzzer rings.

I go through my outline and notes again after this break.

I continue this process two to four times more until I reach the word count for the day.

When you sit down to compose the first draught, forget about your previous successes and mistakes. Yesterday, you could have written a hundred, thousand, or even 10 thousand words. Maybe you didn't write anything at all. You need to write a bad first draft today since there are no excellent first draughts.

What Is the Best Way to Begin a Rough First Draft?

Starting your first draught on page one is not a good idea. This is why: Many skilled authors appear to have superhuman abilities (I'm looking at you, Trollope). When they sit down to write, they stack chapter after chapter of their book and pound out daily word counts that we mere mortals can only aspire to. So, do these experts have some enigmatic book-writing superpowers? Did they be bitten by a radioactive spider while thumbing over the dusty last pages of War and Peace?

If you press a professional writer hard enough, they'll tell you that the toughest part of writing the first draught is starting it. An introduction to a nonfiction book, or even the first few paragraphs of a chapter, explains or sets the stage for what is about to happen. But how can you compose an introduction if you have no idea what's going to happen next? Conclusions, therefore, tie up what has been stated, but how can you write one if you don't know what has been said? It's a baffling predicament that feels ripped right from The Matrix, whether you're a planner or a more pants. Conundrums don't appeal to most professional writers, especially when they have a deadline, children to feed, and an overweight cat to groom. Instead, they set out their notes and outlines (if they have any) and search for a quick entry point into their first draught.

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Determine Your Target Audience

What you write and how much detail you provide relies on who you're writing to, so be sure you know who you're writing to.

What do you know about them?

Why are people reading your document in the first place?

What are they already aware of?

What information do they require?

Have you had several target audiences in mind?

Don't Add Minute Details for Now

In a first draught, adding little details to a certain sub-topic can be a sort of procrastination from writing about your main themes. Aim for a first draught that reflects your primary points without going into too much depth. It's pointless to provide too much information in the first draught because you might change your mind about what you want to convey later. Another essential reason to avoid writing perfect sentences in your early draughts is to allow yourself to change your mind about what you write.

Plan your Pre-Writing

Pre-writing is the process of planning and developing your primary topic through thinking, taking notes, outlining, summarizing, mind-mapping, brainstorming, and asking questions. Pre-writing, which might include hand-writing and diagrams on a whiteboard or large sheet of paper, allows you to focus on the larger picture while producing your first draft.

To collect extra thoughts and ideas, try recording yourself talking about your topic or using voice-recognition software.

Don't Engage the Inner Critic

Don't worry if your original draft isn't entirely clear. In the initial draught, don't care about the reader. Don't stress if you're unsure what you want to say or how you'll arrive at your ultimate findings. As you go through successive draughts, give yourself time to develop and improve your thinking. By not writing precisely in your initial draught, you give yourself the freedom to cut, erase, or drastically alter what you've written.

It's Okay to Make the First Draft Sloppy

The first document should be sloppy, rough, and adaptable, allowing you to remold your framework as you go along. Bullet points, phrase fragments, and temporary paragraph headings should all be written. Attempting to compose perfect phrases and paragraphs is a waste of time (polishing). Don't worry about being boring or repetitious. Avoid being eloquent, stylistic, or concise; you can modify and improve your writing as you rework later iterations.

Things You Need to Keep in Mind While Writing a Structure of an Essay

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind while forming a structure for your essay.

The Three-Point Structure Should Be Avoided

Instead of the three-point format, aim for a thesis that focuses on a single topic. Take a look at our "Finding the Thesis" example from the previous section:

"Throughout the film, Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of The Hunger Games, causes as much risk for herself as she faces from others."

Instead of needing to swiftly and hastily discuss a broader main idea, this thesis allows you to cover your single, narrow issue in greater depth, allowing you to analyze numerous sides of a single angle of the topic.

There is No "Right" Number of Supporting Points

There is no set number of points of attachment that must be included. You do not need to have three! Maybe you have two that go into great detail or four that look at that one topic from all perspectives. You may have more than that, based on the length of your paper.

There is More than One Good Spot

Your thesis may no longer reside at the end of the first paragraph, depending on the assignment's goals, so let's go over a few areas where it can be found in college writing.

It may appear at the end of your introductory material, after you've presented your topic, provided readers with some context, and focused your focus on one aspect of that issue. This may place your thesis at the expected end of the first paragraph, but it might alternatively place several paragraphs into the work.

Write Beginnings

There are a few occupations in the beginning. These will vary depending on the aim of the writing, but the opening few paragraphs should accomplish the following for your text:

They establish your text's tone and major audience—is it formal or informal? Academic? Intended for a professional audience with prior knowledge of the subject? An interested audience that isn't yet well-versed in the subject?

They give your readers a taste of your topic.

They provide you the chance to provide background for the topic—what are the current discussions about it? What is the significance of this? If you're talking about a topic that your audience isn't likely to be familiar with, you might need to define the issue first.

They allow you to show your audience the larger issue you will address in this paragraph and how you will do it. If appropriate, they can begin with a narrative or a related anecdote that exemplifies the issue at hand.

Writing Middles

Middles have a more defined role—they give the meat of the conversation! Here are a few scenarios that could occur. If you state a thesis early in work, the middle section will almost certainly support it. The middle of a story could go into many perspectives on a topic.

It might look at opposing viewpoints—those that aren't yours—and explain why they don't address the problem as well as yours does.

Writing Endings

Endings, like beginnings, have multiple functions. Here are some things they frequently need to do to make a text feel finished:

Reconnect with the fundamental idea or theme. Note that this is not the same as simply copying and pasting the thesis from earlier in the text. Since we originally discovered that thesis, we've most certainly had a lengthy discussion in the text. Simply repeating it or substituting substitutes for a few important phrases does not recognize the larger debate. Instead, try reiterating the basic idea differently. Endings, like beginnings, serve a variety of purposes. Here are a few things they frequently need to perform to finish a text.

Bottom Lines

Reconnect with the core concept or theme. It's important to note that this isn't the same as cutting and pasting the thesis from earlier in the essay. We've undoubtedly had a lengthy discussion in the text since we first uncovered that thesis. Simply repeating it or substituting alternatives for a few key terms fails to acknowledge the broader discussion. Instead, try reiterating the fundamental concept in a new way.

As with writing introductions, the essential thing at the moment in the process of drafting is just to get begun (or, in this case, to get started concluding), but once you're ready, see "Writing Conclusions," which is presented later in this section of the text, for more information on formulas and methods for writing observations.

If you're giving your draft to multiple people for input, give each individual the same version and ask them to provide feedback independently. When there are numerous reviewers, it is confusing to read multiple comments and edits on the same document, but some reviewers' opinions may be excessively affected by someone else's comments.

Please print out your first draught, take it to a café, and edit it with a pen or pencil before making any modifications. When you edit a paper copy of your document, you can get a fresh perspective on what you've written and break the loop of making little adjustments all the time when you're writing or editing on a screen. It's also simpler to see a document in its entirety when it's printed.

Keep both digital and physical versions of each draft so you can immediately access previously culled material.

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