Study Notes for Students | Your Key to Effective Studying

And Now...The First Draft!

The easiest way to write a first draft is using a computer, which makes it easy to delete and change as you go. This is going to take some serious thought and concentration, so turn off the cell phone, the TV and any other potential distraction and give yourself room to think and spread out your materials. This also requires chunks of time that are sizeable, so don't start working on this draft or come back to it unless you have at least two or three hours to commit to it per sitting. You can still take breaks when you need them, but come back to the project. It takes time, and getting a thought process in the right gear to make good progress is a gradual process some times.

Start with all the note cards corresponding to the first segment of your outline. Select from those the ones with the clue in the upper right corner that correspond with your first subject in your outline and read through the information contained on the cards. Decide on how they will flow to make up the first paragraph(s) and put them in the order that seems to flow best. Then read through them in that order and think about the information and how you can flesh it out a little as you write. Go through the rest of the cards all the way through the stack and the outline assuming you are arranging and compiling paragraphs as you go.

Remember as you go that each paragraph should have a subject sentence containing the key point that will be discussed in the paragraph. Think about this as you go and think about your topic sentences for each paragraph. Also, be aware that you will need to flow from one paragraph to another with some degree of sense and logic. This refers to your transition from one thought or idea into another. This helps the reader follow along with you without having to stop and think, "Huh?" Try to be aware of possible transitions as you read through your cards. Once you do this a couple of times and are comfortable with the order and flow, you are ready to set sail on your writing adventure.

The first step is to write something. Get it started. It doesn't have to be good. It will take a little while for your brain to kick in and get into the flow where words and ideas start to come to you as you write. Remember this is a very rough first draft and you can simply throw away that first paragraph and write another if you don't like it. Just pretend you are writing a report to inform your favorite aunt or your cousin and keep the wording natural and uncomplicated. Don't try to fancy things up and get cerebral. Your goal is to communicate, so don't try to be something you are not. Just communicate in your own words.

Last Updated: 08/20/2013


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