Write Your First Draft: Write Effectively
This is a crucial time to remember that writing is a process. As you write your first draft, you’ll slow yourself down, perhaps even bog yourself down, if you worry about style, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Try to avoid composing, revising, and editing simultaneously. They’re three separate functions best done at three separate times. For the moment, concentrate only on getting your ideas down on the page.
Just as you don’t need an outline that is complete down to the last detail before you begin to draft, you don’t need to make each section of your draft perfect before moving on to the next one. Some parts will be more polished than others, and you’ll have time later to add, delete, rephrase, rearrange.
Set out with these goals in mind:
Following your outline, but being willing to diverge from it if your writing leads you in new and better directions
Remembering that you ...view middle of the document...
Once you’ve begun, you can work outward from there.
The important thing is to keep going. Try to do something on your project every day. You’ll find that you’re more productive when you’re regularly engaged with it, even if you can work in only short bits of time. If you put off writing until you have a whole afternoon, for example, to spend on it, you’ll have to take time to reacquaint yourself with where you were when you left off, and you’ll face the discomfort of the pressure to get something major accomplished.
As you draft, try making notes to yourself as guides to revision later:
“I’m not sure if this belongs here.”
“Needs a transition”
When you finally do write the introductory paragraph, imagine that you’re writing for people who don’t have to read your essay. Make them want to read it. You might consider one of these opening tactics:
a gripping scenario
a provocative rhetorical question
an intriguing quotation
a bold assertion
Whatever introductory device you choose, make sure that your opening paragraph leads coherently to your thesis statement.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to make your introduction and conclusion work together. If you open with a vivid example, for instance, you might return to that example at the end of the paper and give your work a satisfying circular structure; we’ve ended where we began. If this closing tactic isn’t appropriate for your paper, remember that your have other good options, and avoid the temptation to make the last paragraph a simple summary. Unless the paper is quite long, your readers will find the summary tedious and repetitious. Consider one of these more thought-provoking possibilities:
End with a call to action, urging your audience to act on what you’ve said.
Project your argument into the future: here are the beneficial things that will happen if your readers adopt your proposal.
Conclude with a vivid example that graphically demonstrates your thesis.
No matter what closing tactic you choose, you want it to be satisfying, to sound and feel like an ending.