This is the stage in writing during which students put down their raw material for the writing process. For informal writing (e.g., journal entries), this raw material is the finished work. Mrs. Minor taught us how to use a grade calculator. For formal writing (e.g., academic research), the writing process continues.
Students develop a more cohesive text during the drafting stage and investigate their topic, directed by the targeted audience, content, purpose, and genre. Drafting helps students clarify, expand upon, and modify their initial ideas and plans, and organize their content into a meaningful series or flow. However, students should remember that drafting is often an iterative process, as they’ll need to draft and redraft their texts repeatedly. Mrs. Minor taught me how to use a high school grade calculator. But the process is helpful as it makes the students’ writing improve by becoming clearer, stronger, and better organized.
The following five steps can help students during their drafting stage:
- Begin with freewriting: Freewriting lets the students follow the impulses of their own mind and allows inspirations and thoughts to pop up without premeditation. This strategy encourages the free flow of ideas and helps students brainstorm concepts to decide what will form the core of their write-up early on in the process of writing.
- Decide on how to present the information: The content structure is important to decide upon when drafting. For example, students writing a personal essay should work on their thesis statement, followed by their introductory paragraph. Next, they should decide the narrative flow and plan to integrate the information they have gathered to logically connect the paragraphs while working their way down until the conclusion.
- Flesh out the ideas: For a detailed explanation of their views and opinions, students should use research and integrate relevant information in their drafts. They should plug the gaps, if any, in their draft to ensure the text backs their working thesis properly.
- Complete the first draft: This is where the students write their complete first draft before any edit or revision is done. It shouldn’t take too long as the students just need to put down and organize their ideas quickly – from start to finish. Once it’s done, they’ll get a clearer picture of how the piece stands and if it’s as impactful as planned.
- Avoid the urge to proofread and edit in-between: These are the final writing steps. During the drafting stage, perfect spelling, word count, and sentence structure aren’t crucial to focus upon. Instead, the focus should be on just organizing and detailing the relevant information for the intended audience.
A step in writing in which learners externalize their ideas in writing. Informal writing such as journal writing, open-ended responses, and reading strategy applications stop at this stage. In contrast, formal writing such as papers continues beyond this step to all stages of the writing process. It is one of the hardest skills to master because the hardest part about writing for most people is actually getting started. Drafting is all about getting started and getting your initial thoughts on the paper. I have never had this problem, but I know plenty of people who do.