Roughing It

16 Oct

You’ve done the pre-writing and are now ready to write your rough draft. You sit down with pen & paper or in front of a computer and you wait…for inspiration, for that first perfect sentence, for something to emerge.

Starting a rough draft can be intimidating, especially if you procrastinated and don’t really have time for a rough draft – don’t do this next time & you too can avoid this freak-out. The first hurdle is to silence your inner editor.

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”

You want to silence your inner editor for now, not forever. You’re going to need this helper for your next draft(s). But, for the rough draft, ignore that voice that’s asking you “Are you sure that makes sense? or” “Is that spelled right?” or anything that will halt you.

Try these steps to get the words on the page (that’s the main goal here):

1) Open that new file or pull out that blank piece of paper. Write down one of your sub-topics (if you’ve done some pre-writing, you should have several to choose from) at the top of the page.

2) Set a timer for 15 minutes.

3) WRITE! Just write and don’t stop at all. Think about this sub-topic and write every single idea that comes to mind even if you end up going off on tangents. Let it go there.

4) Rinse and repeat steps 1-3 for your remaining sub-topics. The standard essay you all write typically has 3-5 body paragraphs so at the most you’ll be doing the free-writing thing for 75 minutes. Not so bad, eh?

5) Take a break. But you don’t want it to be too long. Say 3 minutes for every sub-topic.

Next post will be about starting the revising process and writing the introduction & the conclusion.


2 Responses to “Roughing It”


  1. ORCA: Revising the Rough Draft « LHS Writing Center - October 23, 2012

    […] got the words on the page and are now ready to fine-tune your way to a final draft. To keep it simple and easy to remember, I […]

  2. An Essay Writing Tool « LHS Writing Center - November 1, 2012

    […] posting a lot lately about the various elements of an essay starting at the pre-writing stage to writing and revising the rough draft. I’m also in the middle of breaking down the two hardest […]

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