What do you like to do in your spare time? (Yes, I do realize asking medical students what they like to do in their “spare time” is kind of ridiculous, but hear me out anyway). I like to bake (especially if it involves chocolate and/or butter). And I tend to not follow recipes when doing so; I might glance at one for the basics, but I’m more prone to tweaking the ingredients as I go along—dropping X and adding in Y, for example—until I come up with a finished treat. Through process, trial (and sometimes error), good things come to those who bake. And the same concept can be applied to writing, I think. Writing, like baking, requires trial and error, process and patience.
In previous posts on this topic, we discussed the writing process and its first stage (prewriting). In this post, we’ll discuss the second stage—drafting—in greater detail. When you draft a paper, you take the jumble of ideas that you developed in the prewriting stage and start to add some sense and order to them. You begin to organize the information more logically into separate paragraphs, and you create connections between these paragraphs and your thesis statement (the overall point of your paper).
Some things to keep in mind as you draft:
1.) Writing begets more writing: As you write, you’ll likely discover (and write down) additional ideas or thoughts connected to your topic. Some writers find it best to focus on the body of the paper prior to drafting an introduction/finalized thesis statement.
2.) You still don’t have to worry about the little details: As with the previous two stages, when drafting, don’t worry too much about spelling, grammar, or sentence structure. Focus on building your ideas into supportive body paragraphs.
3.) You can (and probably will) change your mind: Drafting is just that: a preliminary version. You will likely go through several drafts before you consider a piece of writing “final.”
In the next post, we’ll go over the final stages of the writing process: proofreading and editing. In the meantime, happy writing, or baking…or whatever it is that you do in your spare time.
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