Drafting

Prewriting is like getting ready for a trip, gathering information, and making preliminary decisions about your general direction. Drafting is the actual journey. Sometimes you follow the itinerary you mapped out in the prewriting phase. However, the process of writing can occasionally tempt you off the beaten track as you stumble onto side roads you didn't know existed. Then you have to decide if you will stay with your original plan, take an unexpected side trip, or revise the entire itinerary.

Once you have completed prewriting and decided upon a preliminary main idea and outline, you should write a first draft of your course paper or assignment. In the drafting phase, you fulfill the promise you make in the introduction where you state the main idea. You dive in and present your arguments and evidence in full, remembering that the first draft is rarely the last.

The key in this stage of the writing process is to avoid editing and proofreading until you have your ideas down. Stopping and starting and making small changes as you go will interrupt your thinking. Understanding the distinction between drafting and revising will also save time. Get as much down as you can and then go back, both to rethink what you've written and to proofread. The legendary baseball player, Yogi Berra, exclaimed, "I can't think and bat at the same time," when his coaches urged him to think as he was batting during a serious slump. So too, you shouldn't be trying to edit when you are getting your first draft down. Dealing with one task, writing a draft, is enough simultaneous activity.

This section will guide you through this first attempt to commit your thoughts to paper–the drafting phase.

full-text pdf

For more information on pre-writing, download the full-text PDF document and go to:

  • Main Ideas......................page 20
  • Your Audience........................page 22
  • Introductions...................page 22
  • Using Sources.................page 23
  • Using Visuals..................page 24
  • Paragraphs.....................page 24
  • Coherence and Transitions......................page 25
  • Conclusions....................page 26
  • Getting Started...............page 27

Launch PDF