main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. Because I have the greatest
for the reader, and if he's going to the trouble of reading what
I've written, why the
least I can do is make it as easy as possible for him.
I rewrite a great deal to make it clear."
and rewriting is not just for developing writers and students; it is
of the writing process. If,
like E.B. White, you consider your reader with respect,
will take the time to ensure that your writing is as clear as
are some guidelines for using a three-draft approach to produce
Of course, many students and most professional writers will
write more than
drafts, but for the purposes of most academic writing courses three
First Draft: Getting your ideas on paper
first draft is just that—a first attempt at getting your ideas
about a topic down on
It's the time to experiment with new ideas and connections
and get a feeling for
feels convincing and important and what doesn't "work".
Refer to your
or list of ideas and take some time to organize your points before
If you're not sure about a point, include it in your draft
anyway. You can
cross it out later.
writing your first draft, focus on your ideas and don't
too much about your precise wording, organization, grammar and
deal with those in your second and third drafts. There is no point in fussing over
when many of your sentences will be moved and /or revised. You
a thesis statement for an essay and topic sentences for each paragraph to help
keep you focused
your topic. Your goal is not to write a perfect first draft, but to
get down all or most of
information you want to present.
The revising stage may take several drafts)
you have completed your second draft, read it carefully.
If possible, put aside your
for a day and then read it with a fresh mind to ensure that the
Ask for comments from a friend.
is the time to reorganize your ideas and add any points. You should
also think about
writing style. Have you
used a variety of sentences? How are you expressing your
Is your tone—serious, humorous, angry, sarcastic, etc.—appropriate
for the points you are
to make? Are there any points that don't belong?
to this checklist to review your writing after you have made your
I have a clear thesis and/or topic
I have support for all of my major points.
I have cut out points that don't seem to fit anywhere.
The organization and method of development is clear.
Process lists steps in order, Cause and effect gives clear
reasons or results,
and contrast consistently uses point-by-point or block method,
presents three or more categories, etc.
The conclusion brings the paragraph or essay to a
and Writing Mechanics
I have used a variety of sentences.
I have used transitions to connect my ideas.
I have checked for major grammar errors—sentence fragments,
Draft: Editing and Proofreading
involves making changes to sentences and phrases for the purpose of
Proofreading is checking for grammatical and spelling errors.
the time you are writing your third draft, you should have a
polished topic sentence
thesis and your points should be well-organized and supported.
You will mainly be
on the technical aspects of your writing—grammar, punctuation, and