How NOT to Write Your First Draft: 5 Things to Avoid 

The agony of the first draft is something familiar to all writers. Approaching that blank page and jotting the first words down can be intimidating. Even experienced writers often find themselves stuck during those first stages.

The good news is that there’s a way around it. If you’re about to write an essay, a blog post, or anything else, stop and read this article first. Below are five things to avoid when working on your first draft.  This is according to a professional writer from a top custom writing service online, which students turn to for help with proofreading, editing or even with the desperate outcry: “can’t someone do my homework for me?”

Setting your expectations too high 

The main thing that can cripple your progress is expecting too much of yourself. Your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. In fact, it can be terrible. Allow it to be. 

The first draft is meant to be no more than a starting point. You are supposed to put your ideas together. Voice, style, structure, and all the other amazing nuances of your writing will come along later when you edit your work. 

So, the best thing you can do for yourself mindset-wise is to let go of high expectations and pressure. It is extremely liberating as you can focus on the most important thing—writing—instead of overthinking every single detail. 

Starting without a plan 

The next step is to have a comprehensive action plan. You need to do your research and prepare a detailed outline of the ideas you want to include and their order. Don’t forget to formulate your thesis statement early in the process as well. 

It also helps to have a deadline. If it’s a college essay or a work thing, you probably have your final due date. Yet, you can also divide your entire writing process into smaller stages, like research, outline, first draft, and editing. Set a deadline for each. It will help you organize your work and avoid procrastination. The quicker you are done with drafting and move to rewriting and editing, the easier your writing experience will be. 

If you feel at a loss and don’t know where to begin and what to write, it’s ok too. In this case, you can hire professional writers to do the writing for you. Being able to connect with experts and see an example of how a task is supposed to be done does wonders for your writing confidence. 


Yes, too much research is a thing. You need to gather information before drafting your texts. Yet, it can turn into a trap if you find yourself checking every single source out there. 

This may turn into a form of procrastination that prevents you from getting to the actual drafting step. Besides, as a writer, you may simply get overwhelmed with too much information from all those sources. 

To prevent over-researching, set yourself a time limit. It may vary depending on the length and complexity of your task. Don’t forget to keep your research focused on your thesis statement and note down only relevant information. 

Writing without breaks 

Taking regular breaks is crucial to make your workflow balanced and consistent. It gives you time to refocus and come back to writing fresh and recharged. 

For example, you can use the famous Pomodoro technique with 5-10 minute breaks every 25 minutes and a longer 30-minute break after every three such writing sessions. 

If your deadline is around the corner and there’s no way for you to organize a healthy workflow, consider delegating. The best paper writing services can do all the work for you or at least help you with editing. It’s a great way to save time and spare yourself the trouble of writing stressful last-minute pieces. 

Thinking of your first draft as “done” 

Once a beginner writer finishes the final sentence of their first draft, they think they’ve reached the finish line. An expert would tell you that it’s only the beginning. 

Some people call writing an endless process, and it’s not far from the truth. Treat your first draft as an initial building block of huge construction. It gives you the foundation to build upon.

Edit your first draft ruthlessly. It may seem daunting to rewrite entire paragraphs, but this is the entire reason to write the first draft—generate ideas and get them on paper. Editing is there to rewrite them into something wonderful. You’ll most likely need to:

  • Revise structure for a smooth flow
  • Improve sentence clarity
  • Ensure consistency
  • Correct grammar and punctuation
  • Polish the tone and style of your writing
  • Take care of formatting and referencing
  • Eliminate repetitive and redundant information

The Bottom Line 

Starting your first draft with the right mindset and approach can spare you lots of hours of trial and error. Treat your first draft as an experiment, a writing adventure. Don’t worry about technicalities or eloquent sentences. Your first draft is no more than a skeleton you can build on. We hope these five tips will help you avoid common mistakes and make writing your first draft more manageable and even fun. 


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By Susan Barlow

Dr. Susan Barlow is retired from academia after teaching business administration, project management, and business writing courses for over 20 years.

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