The Rough Draft


Get through a draft as quickly as possible.
Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft.
Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this.
But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to first half.
The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly.
– Joshua Wolf Shenk

You ever start writing a paper and spend hours editing the first few paragraphs? Finishing a first draft without scrutinizing over every single awkward sentence can be difficult yet, this is something every writer should aim to do.

Writing a rough draft requires a lot of steam. This is the part where many people fall off the wagon but you just have to remember one thing, it’s a rough draft. If you want, no one but you has to see it. Forget the misconception that the first thing you write has to be amazing or perfect, this is what rough drafts are for. Rough drafts are supposed to be rough, a tiny glimmer of what your final product will be. Spending hours upon hours, editing your paper as you go can make writing a lot more complicated. I suggest writing a rough draft in one go, give yourself a couple of hours to write however many words or pages you can, but never allow yourself to edit anything you’ve already written out (not until you’re done with draft #1 that is). Fleshing out your first rough draft can help you see where you’re going with your thoughts. After this draft you can decide if where you’re headed is where you want to be or if you need to make some changes along the way. Also, having a complete rough draft can give you a lot of material to work with, material that you can edit and alter, making future drafts less painful.

In the words of Shenk, “Have the courage to write badly.”

Post by Gabriela


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