I finally started writing my first draft for an essay this week. I’ve been putting it off for a while because I was worried that I hadn’t done enough reading and didn’t have enough knowledge of the topic to start.
But with an essay, you could read forever. There’s always more books and journal articles to research.
Sooner or later, I need to put pen to paper (metaphorically!) and start typing.
I used to spend hours planning and trying to make sure every line of every paragraph was ‘perfect’. It needed to sound academic and be well referenced from the start. This strategy simply took me too much time and caused a lot of stress because I wasn’t progressing with the essay writing.
My sister recently advised me to just get everything I wanted to say down in a first draft and worry about making it sound good later.
This has proved a much more fruitful strategy because getting up to a word count is no longer a problem. It’s getting it down within the limit and fine-tuning how it reads in later drafts which is the new challenge!
The first draft is never the final product nor is it meant to be. But it still needs to be written.
It’s from the first draft that we can go on to do great work.
What do you draft in your work? How different is the final product to your ‘first draft’?