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How to write a rough draft

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Knowing how to write a rough draft is an important part effective composition

Knowing how to write a rough draft is an important part effective composition

Whether you’ve chosen to be a writer or you just have an essay due next week, these guidelines will help you better understand the art of writing and how to avoid writer’s block during crunch time. It all starts with organizing your thoughts and comprehending how to write a rough draft.

Some of us think writing is just typing on the screen the first words that come into your head. Yes and No. Yes, because this is a type of writing called ‘free writing’, a practice that helps writers come up with random ideas that will somehow be linked into their story. No, because after this step many more steps come, to refine your writing skills and edit those random freely written thoughts.

Set the Stage

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When writing, you need to find what gets your creative juices flowing. Ask yourself:

  • Do you need a quiet area? Do you prefer to write listening to music?
  • Do you normally write into your laptop? Or do you use pen and paper to write down ideas?
  • Do you like to write in the morning/afternoon/night?
Answering these few questions will help you settle into an environment and routine that will let you write to your maximum potential.

Research, Research, Research!

Read about what you’re writing about to gain more knowledge about the subject. Writing goes hand in hand with reading and the more you read, the better you will write. Research online and in books, skim through magazines and ask questions. Contact experts if you can to get a quote or two on the subject.


Free Writing

Free Writing is exactly that: writing freely. This is a great exercise to start forming an idea in what you want to write. It can be compared to doodling with words, because they don’t have to make sense and can be as random as you’d like. This is the beginning of how to write a rough draft.

Brain Storming

Similar to Free Writing, but instead of random thoughts, you will try to group your thoughts in bubbles. Create larger bubbles for broader topics and make them smaller as you get more specific.


Another way to organize your thoughts are lists. Also, listing can help organize what you have to write! Prioritize your schedule and set a time to write.

Writing Tricks&Tips

  • Leave your first sentence for last. It’ll be easier, trust me.
  • Keep an active voice.
  • Focus on having an introduction, body and conclusion paragraph. Yes, exactly like middle school. This will help you focus on the bigger picture and then add to it.
  • Save your rough drafts, don’t throw anything away! Looking though them, you’ll create newer and better ideas.
  • Don’t edit the first day, or the second! Get your ideas together and don’t judge them. Did you say the word “famous” more than 5 times? Cross it out on day 3 after you’ve really looked at your material. Editing too early in the writing stage will only discourage you.
  • But when you are editing, do take into account: crutch words, paragraph lengths, and remove irrelevant sentences and words.
  • Last but not least, have someone re-read your work. A fresh pair of eyes will catch small mistakes and words you didn’t realize where even in there!
Happy Writing!

Tips for Writing a Rough Draft
Study Guides and Strategies


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