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3.3: Drafting

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    The Crummy Rough Draft

    A rough draft\(^{64}\) is an important step in the writing process. Writing more than one draft gives you the opportunity to catch problems and see where the paper may not be working. You may want to do an outline to plan your paper beforehand but doing that is not always necessary. After you choose your topic, any possible research and or sources needed in order you can begin actually writing. While you write your rough draft, you may not feel completely satisfied about the paper, but that’s okay because that is what a rough draft is for. You want to give yourself a chance to work to get to the best arrangement of ideas and find different ways of expressing them.

    The Importance of Just Getting It on The Page:

    Not much can be done for a piece of writing until it is on paper or computer screen. You may worry that the paper will not be very good or even think that it will be awful, yet you won’t really know until you’ve actually written it. Not only will you and your reader(s) not be able to see what you have written, but there is no chance of working to fix what has not yet been written.

    Write “Badly”

    You might want to believe in the importance of writing “badly.”\(^{65}\) Bruce Ballenger, writer and professor of English at Boise State\(^{66}\) explains why writing badly is an important part of the writing process:

    Giving myself permission to write badly makes it much more likely that I will write what I don’t expect to write, and from those surprises will come some of my best writing. Writing badly is also a convenient alternative to staring off into space and waiting for inspiration.

    Sometimes the biggest problem writers have with getting started is that they feel like the writing needs to be good, or well organized, or they feel like they need to start at the beginning. None of that is true. All you need to do is start.

    Have you ever seen a potter make a clay pot? Before a potter can start shaping or throwing a pot, they have to bring the big wet blob of clay and slap it down on the table. It’s heavy and wet and messy, but it’s the essential raw material. No clay? No pot. Starting to write anything is a lot like that. You have to dump all the words and ideas onto the table. Just get them out. Only then do you have the raw material you need to start shaping the words into something beautiful and lasting. You can wait until the revision stages to worry about shaping your writing to be its “best.” For now, just get the ideas on the table.

    Embrace Reality

    Don’t imagine the situation of your writing assignment to be any better or worse than it really is\(^{67}\). There are some important truths for you to recognize:

    • Focus on what you do best rather than fretting about your perceived weaknesses.
    • Acknowledge that writing can be difficult and that all you need to do is do your best.
    • Recognize what might be new or unfamiliar about the type of writing that you’re doing.
    • Understand that confusion and frustration is a natural part of experiencing new things, and it’s okay; it’s part of the learning process.
    • Remember that you’re a student and that you’re supposed to be experiencing things that are new and unfamiliar (new formats, new audiences, new subject matter, new processes, new approaches, etc.).
    • Repeat the mantra: “It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be DONE.”
    • What does it mean to “write badly” to you?
    • Is the clay pot analogy too cheesy?
    • What do you think when you hear “it doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be done”?

    \(^{64}\)“Basic Writing/Print version.” Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. 9 Sep 2008, 16:02 UTC. 11 May 2016, 18:08 <>. Licensed CC-BY-SA.

    \(^{65}\)And yes, “writing badly” is as subjective as “writing well.” But that means your “bad writing” isn’t probably all that “bad,” you know. It’s probably just fine! Isn’t that a nice thought?

    \(^{66}\)There should be a comma here, right? Why didn’t they put one? Because punctuation – just like grammar and writing and all that jazz – is SUBJECTIVE!

    \(^{67}\)The Word on College Reading and Writing by Carol Burnell, Jaime Wood, Monique Babin, Susan Pesznecker, and Nicole Rosevear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

    This page titled 3.3: Drafting is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sybil Priebe (Independent Published) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.