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Writing Projects » Stages of Writing » Drafting » Tips for the First Draft

Here are some tips for writing your first draft:
•If you have a main idea, or thesis, you might want to use it as your first sentence for now, or write it at the top of your first page.

•If you have written a pre-draft outline, keep it nearby as you write, or copy it over with enough space between each section to write your draft in.

•If you are writing a first draft on paper, skip every other line or two. If you are writing with a word processor, set the line spacing to double or triple. This will allow you to see your work more clearly and give you room to make changes and additions.

•Don't worry about writing an introduction or a conclusion at first, unless you have a great idea and want to get it down before you forget it. You will have a better idea of how to introduce and conclude your project when you know in more detail what you are saying.

•Try to work fairly quickly. Don't worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation. You will edit later. For now, concentrate on shaping your ideas.

•After you have written your first draft, put it away and don't look at it for a while, at least an hour or two.

Many writers use drafting as a way of gathering ideas, and many use a variety of pre-writing strategies even after writing a first or second draft. If you feel you need to gather more ideas and/or get your thoughts in order, try some of the activities in Getting Started.

Most of us feel more comfortable writing a first draft using familiar tools — a favorite pen and notebook, or a word processing program we like. However, if you want to write your draft using the WriteSite, we have a place for you to do it »

Or if you have a first draft, you are ready to move on to revision »

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