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How to Write a Rough Draft for an Essay?

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Written by Bonnie Adair
Posted: May 1, 2021
Last update date: March 22, 2024
7 min read

When writing an essay, it’s difficult to decide whether to use a rough draft first or get to the writing part right after the research. That’s one of the main reasons a rough draft may seem less effective to students, but there’s an even bigger question here: How to write a rough draft for an essay?

Most students need to familiarize themselves with the pre-writing and freewriting processes, so we’ll explain them all in one place through this guide.

Here are the key points you’ll learn from our article:

  • The importance of creating rough drafts before writing an essay, as it allows you to brainstorm, organize your thoughts, and refine your ideas, ultimately leading to a more coherent and well-structured final essay.
  • Main tips and steps to take for writing.
  • Valuable technique of freewriting allows your thoughts flow freely on paper, tap into creativity and generate ideas that you might not have considered otherwise.
  • Complete the process with detailed steps to achieve a flawless draft.

We know that you may be in the temptation of finding someone to edit your work or simply hold back from creating a draft because of the time it takes. That’s why our expert PapersOwl team decided to help, so let’s start by elaborating on why a rough draft can be so important when writing a good essay.


Understanding the Purpose of a Rough Draft

Before we get into the matter of how to write draft outlines, let’s take a moment to explain its purpose. To most students, these can serve as a great first attempt or take on the subject, which lays out the structure and tone of the essay’s rough draft.

Creating a rough draft includes writing the introduction heading, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Precisely, it usually includes a single body heading which will become a foundation for all the body headings in the essay.

Writing the rough draft outline can help create key ideas that you’ll be further exploring in the essay, and it’s a perfect way of properly structuring the essay. Before writing it, you’ll need to do proper research and take a few other steps to prepare for writing the final form. We’ll discuss all these steps in detail to get you in the right direction when it comes to writing a helpful draft that will truly make writing easier.

To answer the question of how to write rough draft pieces, we’ll give you specific steps to take, from creating a first draft to its final form.

Practical Tips On Writing Your Own Rough Draft

Creating your own draft outline may seem challenging if you have never done it before, but if you follow a few simple rules, it becomes much easier. You can follow the listed steps for fast and efficient writing: 

Before You Begin: Pre-writing

Your first try to write a rough draft should start with some brainstorming. The best piece of advice is to thoroughly research the subject before you start writing your essay draft to create a good outline.

It means creating a basic structure of the draft, and after that, it becomes easy to make the necessary changes if edits are needed.

Begin With a Freewriting Session 

This one goes hand in hand with the pre-writing, since freewriting includes laying down all of your new ideas on paper. Here, you should pay less attention to the structure and the tone, simply write whatever comes to your mind about the topic.

Not only would you overcome writer’s block this way, but it also makes a great source for creating a draft or even a thesis statement later on. From all the ideas you write down in this stage, you can select the most prominent ones and create a proper format.

Start With A Strong Opening

The first draft should have a strong introduction that both introduces the main statement and topic but is also catchy enough. Here are some steps to creating a perfect opening line and intro for your rough draft example:

  1. The beginning should have a hook that grabs the reader’s attention and introduces the topic in the introductory paragraph.
  2. Provide context and background information for every point to help the target audience understand the subject when you write.
  3. Introduce the main thesis of the paper.
  4. Keep the intro paragraph concise and focused on the main topic.

Speak Then Write

Most students think you should start with the outline first, but the best first step is to speak before writing. This also refers to reading enough material on the subject to gain insight into the topic and get inspiration for a thesis statement.

You can speak aloud to prepare a rough draft in your head before putting it all down on paper. You can explore the main points this way and then proceed by freewriting before you start creating a draft layout.

Avoid Stopping at Hard Points

One thing that can prevent you from creating first drafts is stopping at hard points. We recommend that you make a note if you hit any sort of obstacle or if you don’t have enough inspiration for a certain section.

This way, you can keep the flow going to maintain your rhythm and confidence, and you won’t lose that inspirational moment. Creating a note can also help make you think about a certain session and come back to it to revise and make it better.

Don’t Worry About Perfection

To write a perfect draft, you must wonder what is a rough draft first. The thing is, most students spend too much time writing the first draft of an essay when it should be quick and simple. You must keep in mind that the final version can be drastically different from your first take.

Because of this, we recommend that you stop focusing on word count, headings, and other formatting guidelines at first. Just try to do some freewriting and brainstorm to lay down the ideas on which the draft will be based. You can then align the content with structural elements and create a final draft as the end result.

Write the Body First

This one depends on your writing style, but some writers find it easier to write the body of their essay or article before the introduction and conclusion. This allows them to define their arguments before framing them.

Rough draft writing should be about just that – creating the main arguments and exploring the main ideas that the final work will be based on. You can start with the middle, and we even advise you to write the conclusion first and leave the intro section for last. This will help you get into the tone and main ideas so you can come up with the perfect opening line in the same way.

Write Section by Section

Now that you know a bit more about starting your draft, you can create the first rough draft, one section at a time. After you write down the first few topic ideas, you move on by creating a body heading.

You can use the material you’ve prepared before that, only this time you can pay attention to details depending on if it’s the MLA or APA research paper outline, style, word limits, formatting, and so on.

Don’t interrupt your own flow of thoughts by skipping between the sections. Write the body heading first, then the conclusion, and finally, move on to the introduction. Writing a draft this way helps create a perfect outline for each section that fits together as a whole.

Include Citations as You Go

The best way to go about writing the rough draft for a scholarly paper is to include citations along the way. There’s no need to overdo it here, you should just include a few citations of credible sources, possibly the ones you’ve used for inspiration and research before writing.

This may not even be as important for official reasons as it is to give you an idea of citations you’ll use in the final draft and to categorize your sources.

Leave Notes for Yourself and Use Placeholders

As you move your way from the first draft to the final one, you can leave a note as a reminder to yourself to come back to a certain section.

You can also leave a note for a certain section that you’ll return to later on if you run into writer’s block. You can use placeholders for formatting as well to make it easier to organize the text.

Reviewing the Draft

One of the most important steps for creating rough drafts is checking and revising if needed. Our recommended method is to read it around, as this can help figure out if certain sentences don’t read as well as you intended them to. We also recommend that you let someone else read it to give you a critique or feedback, which you can build on to make the essay’s first draft sound the best it possibly can.

Polish Your Essay to Perfection

If you need an expert’s hand to help with challenging sections of your essay, you can use the “do my homework online” service provided by our team. We can help you reduce stress if you are in a jam and get the work done by professional academic writers at your service through an example of a draft essay.

Of course, we’ll encourage you to complete your essay without any help as well, so let’s discuss the main steps of polishing your work.

First, confirm that everything while writing a rough draft is written right and prepare for the final draft. You have to ensure that your final essay draft is flawless! Here are some tips to get a perfect, polished essay after writing a rough draft.

  1. Take a break: Step away from your essay for a little while before you put words in their final form. This can help you approach the essay with fresh eyes and catch mistakes you might have missed before while writing. Make sure that all of your ideas are in logical order. 
  2. Focus on the thesis statement: Make sure your beginning is flawless by focusing on the thesis statement. Look at the big picture and ensure it’s clear, concise, and supports the essay’s main argument in the body sections. If necessary, revise and refine the thesis statement for a compelling introduction. 
  3. Edit for structure and organization: Review the outline, word choices, and organization of the essay. Ensure that each paragraph flows logically and introduces new ideas. Ensure at least three paragraphs and direct quotes are in your final draft.
  4. Check for coherence: Make sure your essay is coherent and that each sentence and paragraph connects to the essay’s overall argument. Eliminate tangents or off-topic discussions, and make sure you are writing in your own style. Avoid passive voice when you write, and ensure you write the essay in active voice.
  5. Review for clarity and precision: Ensure your writing is clear and precise and in an active voice. Avoid jargon or overly complex language; use specific and descriptive words to convey your ideas when writing. Make sure to use quotation marks where required. 
  6. Proofread for grammar and spelling: Edit your essay for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Read the rough draft carefully, and consider using a grammar and spelling checker.
  7. Get feedback: Share your essay with a friend, teacher, or peer for feedback after writing. Consider their suggestions and make necessary revisions.
  8. Read it aloud: Read your work aloud to yourself to ensure that the outline flow well with the ideas and that each sentence makes sense. This can help you catch errors and identify areas that need improvement initially. 
  9. Follow the guidelines: Finally, ensure that your essay meets all the guidelines and requirements of the assignment in the final draft that’s written.

Tip: As writers do, make sure to add outside sources to support your ideas wherever required.

Working on a paper and drafting an essay can be challenging, especially if you have too much workload. In that case, you can get our services and be worry-free. We assist students worldwide in writing essays in APA style, MLA style, or any other format on any subject. We work 24/7 and will prepare your rough draft or the whole paper without any excuses!

Moving Forward: From Rough to Final Draft

When it comes to the matter of rough draft vs final draft, it’s important to know that the initial form can always be further improved. Now that you have all it takes to write the first draft of an essay, you can keep improving and revising it to get the final shape and form you’ll be using to assist in your writing.

At this point, you should once again check the readability and flow, check for new ideas, or revise the content. Once the wiring is in its final shape, you can edit minor structural details and pay attention to spelling and the rough draft format. If you need assistance and the question “Can I pay someone to edit my paper” goes through your mind, our team is always available to help.

Wrapping Up on Rough Draft Writing

Creating an example of a draft essay or your first draft is tougher than it looks, but it can be done by following the right steps. In our opinion, a rough draft can significantly help as a base for your paper, and if done right, you will have a complete outline for it with only a few body sections to add.

Make sure to keep in mind the rough draft meaning when writing – it’s not about making a perfect outline from the first draft; it’s about setting up the main ideas as a base to build an essay upon.

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