Writing Tip #26: Drafting a Paper
The ultimate purpose of writing drafts is to make mistakes and then correct them. Drafting is the process of writing and rewriting a paper until it is perfection. Start with writing a first draft, which will be a rough sketch of your paper concept. Then go back and reread, rewrite and make improvements. Each draft should get progressively better. Look for word usage, sentence structure, coherence, adherence to thesis, grammar issues, and proper siting and referencing.
This process means that you must begin a paper days in advance of its due date, not hours before! Build upon each draft, making corrections and revisions until you read the paper and you cannot think of another addition or subtraction that would make it more perfect.
Three drafts is usual in the writing process, but sometimes more are used. The number of drafts is not important. What is important is that you systematically improve upon the original paper. Some writers never feel finished. They never feel that their work is perfect. If you are one of these writers, strive for the best that you can do in the time allotted. Don’t make yourself crazy over one paper because many more papers will be assigned.
A good tip is to take a break after writing your first or second draft, whether it be a coffee break, some exercise or just a few hours of not looking at it, and then come back and read it with a clear head. You may be amazed at how good (or bad) it is and be able to clearly see what needs to be done to make it a final draft.
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