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How To Write A Rough Draft

Regardless of what you are writing, outlining and organizing your thoughts into a rough draft can allow you to visualize your writing as a whole. Keep reading to learn more about why rough drafts can help you and how you can make amazing rough drafts! 

What Exactly Is A Rough Draft? 

According to most sources, a rough draft is a version of your work that is not fully edited or polished. It contains most of the information you wish to include; however, it may not read 100% smoothly, or it may be missing vital aspects that you want to add later. In the case of a novel, a rough draft can allow you to easily spot any plotholes or to see if your characters are fully fleshed-out. Even though it may not be a finished piece, a rough draft can act as a guideline to help better your work during future revisions. 

Why Should You Write Rough Drafts? 

As mentioned, rough drafts allow you to easily synthesize your work and set a guideline for how you will edit in the future. Additionally, rough drafts can be very helpful in just getting your ideas down on paper, as they often feel less stressed than final drafts. 

Main Steps To Write An Amazing Rough Draft 

Although everyone will have a different process, there are several tips that most writers agree on in creating an effective rough draft.

Firstly, setting goals is the cornerstone of creating effective drafts. Without a goal, we can often put “word vomit” onto the page that yields little information and doesn’t read well. Similarly, setting goals for your work can also help to keep you on a productive schedule if needed. First, you may want to set goals for how much you write, what you write, or even when you want to write. In essence, setting goals helps to keep you productive and happy along your writing journey! 

Outlining is another technique that can elevate your writing. Outlining is the process of laying out and organizing your ideas (usually in a visual manner), usually meant to help you see the full vision of your work. In addition, outlining before your rough draft helps prevent you from writing erroneous information that gets in your way. 

Have a brainstorming session to start your rough draft. As creative people, we can feel drained or plum out of good ideas. With this, many writers recommend brainstorming before you write/outline, allowing you to have a free flow of ideas that could strengthen your work. In this brainstorming, most writers recommend letting all of your personal views/ideas disappear and letting whatever free thought comes to mind take hold. 

Try to take a break from editing. Even if your rough draft may feel sloppy in its early form, you shouldn’t necessarily try to edit it too quickly. In quickly editing your rough draft, you could easily erase ideas that could help your work. In the future, keep pushing forward with all ideas when writing your draft, and try to hold off on editing until the full draft is finished. 

Try starting from the end of your draft. Although it may sound weird, starting from the end of your draft can alleviate a lot of the confusion in your writing. We often know where we want our story to go/conclude in many cases. However, we don’t fully know how we want the story to get there. With this, starting from the end can help you understand what you may want to write in the beginning. In addition to this, it can also help keep your writing fun and enjoyable for you! 

Give yourself breaks when writing drafts. When writing rough drafts, many people feel the need to blaze through and finish in one sitting. While this is possible, it can often lead to extra-sloppy drafts. In taking a step away from your writing, you can effectively get a fresh pair of eyes on your work when you return, which may be exactly what your writing needs. 

When you are finished, be ready to move on from the drafts. Although drafting may be a fun process, it is, in essence, a stepping stone to later work in your writing. With this, you should be ready to fully finish your draft (relatively quickly) and move on to editing, proofreading, and revising! 


In the end, creating rough drafts is a great technique to help strengthen and organize your writing. Although different people will have different writing processes, a few universal steps can help you along the way, such as taking breaks, outlining, or even starting from the end. With these tips, the last thing to ensure is having fun when you draft! 

Related: How To Write a Great Call To Action

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Posted by Ryan Fisher
By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specialises in proofreading, editing and content writing with a emphasis on business communication.

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