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Writing a first draft

Updated on March 13, 2012

Putting your thoughts down on paper

"There is nothing to writing. All you need is to sit down at a typewriter and bleed" - Ernest Hemingway

Writing a first draft is always the hardest step of the the writing process. During this step (the second step of the writing process), your main focus should be getting all of your ideas out onto the paper. you don't need to worry about spelling, grammar, or punctuation at this point. In fact, you may find that your first draft is very unorganized and unclear. This is okay... you don't have to worry about the first draft being perfect. It is just one step. you can worry about the flow of the writing during the revision and editing steps of the writing process, but for now just let your fingers type whatever comes into your head. Unfortunately writing a first draft is the point in the writing process where writer's block often can arise, but that is a topic for another day. For now we are going to focus on the writing the beginning, middle, and end of your first draft.

3 primary components of the first draft (beginning, middle, and end)

Writing the beginning of your first draft

The beginning of your paper is obviously the first thing that your audience will see so it is imperative to have some sort of attention grabbing device to peak your reader's interest and keep them reading.

here are several ways to grab the audiences attention, such as:

  • Interesting fact or statistic: Did you know that 29% of statistics are made up?
  • a quote from a famous person: "Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin
  • a brief story: When I was a young boy, my grandma would always take me fishing in the Jacobson River....

After you have grabbed the audiences attention, you will generally want to introduce the main points you will be covering in the body (or, middle) of the paper. My basic rule of thumb is to be sure to summarize the main points in the introduction for any writings that are going to be up to or over 1,000 words (but you can also feel free to briefly introduce your main points even if your writing is only a couple hundred words...)

Writing the middle of your first draft

The middle of the first draft is also know as the body of the paper. In the body of the paper you want to establish and define your main points, support your main points, and detail this message.

Establish: Let the audience know the point of your paper is in the body of the paper. Be very clear.

Define: Define any unclear terms or points of views. If it is a very complicated paper, be sure to also break down arguments into simpler terms if needed.

Support: Support your arguments with facts, quotes, and statistics.

Detail: Do not be vague in your writing... Use details and various sources to make your work more interesting and better supported.

Writing the ending of your first draft

The ending of your first draft should try to summarize your main ideas and conclude your work. In addition, many good authors will try to create an open-ended platform so that the reader will continue thinking about the topic.

So, hopefully everyone will have an easier time writing their first drafts. Just remember the components for the beginning, middle, and end... and you will be just fine... or feel free to come up with a deviation of this template for your own writing style!


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