Thompson Rivers University

Mastering The Rough Draft

  Posted on: August 5, 2015

by Martin McFarlane

The rough draft is one of the most labour-intensive aspects of writing. It is also an opportunity to write down all of your thoughts and information in a setting where it will not be scrutinized by anyone but yourself. Drafting is an important skill to have for writing in university and, later on, your career.

Here are some tips on creating your rough draft:

What is a Rough Draft?

A rough draft is a first look at your work; it is your work-in-progress paper without revisions. Since it is your work before it is ‘polished’ into the final version, the main objective of the rough draft is to create content. It does not need to be perfect, but your main points, information, and thesis need to be included.

The Importance of Drafting Your Paper Properly

The bulk of the work in writing your paper is in creating your rough draft. This will result in a better mark on your paper. If you have holes in your argument or are missing key points, correcting errors in grammar or sentence structure will not make up for those marks lost due to content. Make sure your paper covers all of the criteria given to you while in the drafting stage of your writing assignment so that you do not lose marks because of a missing detail.

Good drafting also comes with good preparation. By having all of your main research done and points briefly outlined, the drafting process becomes much easier and leads to a better quality paper. There is no need for formatting or citing at this stage; those steps will come after you have your ideas written down.

What to Worry About When Writing a Rough Draft

As with most writing assignments, the main marks are given to you for your content, rather than the lesser aesthetic details such as grammar, formatting and structure. When you are in the drafting stage, you should ask yourself if you have covered all of the points you wanted to make. Does your paper have an introduction, body, and conclusion? Do you have all the information necessary to make a clear and solid argument? Are you keeping on track with the same subject throughout your paper? A good tip for drafting is to just keep writing down any thoughts that come to you, ignoring any spelling, grammar or formatting mistakes.

Content takes precedence over style in drafting and serves as the core of your writing assignment. Be patient in your drafting stage and allow yourself enough time to do it properly; your GPA will thank you!

Finally, remember that writing is an ongoing process of drafting, revising, and formatting. If you need to “rough draft” some more ideas into your essay after having done some revising, that’s okay!

For more tips on creating a rough draft, check out this guide.