by Catherine L. Tully
I’m going to encourage you today to write from your gut and just go with it.
Writing a rough draft should be a kind of mental dump of your research, your personality and, most likely, your clichés. Getting everything out of your brain as quickly as possible is something I think works very well for most people. I’m going to take you through my general process in hopes that something here clicks for you…
First there is research.
I do a lot of surfing on the web–first getting overall concepts, then fact gathering. The concepts I don’t write down, the facts I often do, along with a link to the site I found it on in case I wind up using one and need to give some kind of attribution. I spend a while doing this, then – and this is really significant for me – I take a total break. I go and do something completely unrelated and let the things I just learned simmer in my subconscious.
This portion of the rough draft-writing process keeps me from plagiarizing. All the things I have learned kind of melt together and become a tangle of ideas that I can then sort through to create an outline in my head for the piece I’m going to write.
Next step? Pen to paper–or in my case–fingers to keyboard.
I sit down and write the entire rough draft in one go. I don’t care if it stinks. I don’t care if there are clichés everywhere. I just get it done. You can always (and, I would argue, should always) go back and polish later. Just get it out. There’s no big secret here, but there is definitely a predictable process that works–at least for me.
If you struggle with writing a rough draft, try some of these ideas and see if they work for you. If you have suggestions to add, please do leave them in the comments section below–I’d love for you to share them!