How to Write Your First Draft

After researching and arranging your information and topic sentence in an organised way, it is time for you to present your ideas or arguments in an essay. The most difficult process for many students is writing the first draft. How do you put all ideas into your first draft comprehensively and relevantly? Many times, you may find yourself sitting and facing a blank screen for a long time, not knowing where to start, and end up with nothing. It would be helpful if you have answers for the following questions before you start writing your first draft:

1. What is your answer to the essay question?
2. What main points will you discuss in order to support your argument?
3. In what order will you discuss your main points?
4. How long will you spend discussing each main point?
5. What information will each paragraph contain (i.e. what information will you use to discuss each of your main points)?
6. What references will you use to support your argument?

Write your first draft as quickly as possible and try to finish it in one go. Your first draft should include all your ideas and supporting facts or examples, following your organised outline from your research. Do not worry about adding adjectives, adverbs or producing words. Concentrate on your ideas/main points that have to be relevant to and support your topic sentence or thesis statement, and try to finish your draft in one sitting as quickly as possible. This is important for your first draft writing.

Keep the thesis statement or your topic sentence as a guideline of your whole essay. You have to know the main points that will be used to support your topic sentence. In addition, those main points have to support your topic sentence flowingly. Put examples or facts in your first draft to support your main points in each paragraph. If you have found that some sections of your essay need more facts or examples but you do not have them, mark or bracket that section to remind yourself that it needs more supporting facts and keep on writing your draft until you finish.

Ensure that your essay is written in an academic style and in the correct format according to the guidelines that you refer to. The academic writing style has to be formal and impersonal. Avoid using the personal ‘I’ in your essay because it will make your essay look unprofessional. Instead of using ‘I agree with…,’ you might use ‘This essay agrees with…’, which makes your essay looks formal and reliable. The readers know automatically that this essay is your idea as it is written by you.

Make sure that you write the essay in the correct format, consistent with the guidelines that you use for your essay, for example, line spacing, font and page margins. The in-text references or footnotes should be included while you are writing your first draft, as you have to refer to the sources of your supporting examples or facts from your research anyhow. Putting the necessary information and ideas comprehensively in your first draft will help you edit your second draft.

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