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6.8 Final Thoughts on Drafting

Here’s a quick summary of the key guidelines in drafting:

  • Don’t worry about your audience before you draft. Your audience may dictate the style and tone of your writing, but it is more important to get a good start before adding potential complications to the mix.
  • You may need to narrow or expand your topic as you develop your paper.
  • If you are stumped about how to start the introduction, it might be helpful to simply skip it and come back to it later. The bigger picture might become clearer as you approach completion.
  • While drafting, keep all of your research close at hand. This will prevent the need to stop writing to look something up, which could break your concentration.
  • Writing in 30-minute stretches, or longer, will establish momentum, making your job as a writer much easier.
  • If you come across a small detail that you are unsure about, simply write yourself a note and come back to it later.
  • The first draft will not be perfect. Your priority should be getting your thoughts out on paper (or on-screen). Leave the fine-tuning for later.
  • If you must stop writing, be sure to end in a place where you have a good idea of what comes next. You will be able to pick it up again more easily.


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Expression and Inquiry by Christopher Manning; Sally Pierce; and Melissa Lucken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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