Key Points to Remember When Drafting a Paper

“The first draft of anything is shit.” That was Hemingway speaking, by the way. He was right. If you submit your first, unedited draft as the final version for a professor to see, they won’t think highly of it. Do you know why? – Because the first draft is anything but a paper. But, it is necessary. If you learn how to write a draft paper, the process of writing will be more enjoyable than you expect. No kidding.

What Is a Draft Paper?

Shannon Hale, a New York Times best-selling author, found a nice way to express the process of drafting: “Writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”

Let’s try to extract a definition out of this quote: the draft is the first version of your paper, where you throw down your thoughts and arguments without being too concerned about structure, form, and perfectionism. You’re mostly focused on getting your ideas out of your system and supporting them with strong arguments that you located during the research stage.

Do You Need an Outline?

An outline is not absolutely necessary. Still, many students would agree that outlines help them write better and faster since they make them more focused on the main points. Some people, on the other hand, feel like the outlines are limiting them. They like being completely flexible when writing a draft paper, so they will pay attention to all ideas they get.

For me personally, outlining helps. I suggest you to start with brainstorming after the research process. You already have general ideas, so you can imagine how the paper would look like. Draft out the introduction points, thesis statement, main arguments, and the idea you have for a conclusion. When you have the bones of the content, you’ll already know how to start a paper.

If you keep getting ideas when you’re writing the first draft, you can feel free to take a different direction than the one your outline imposes. Remember: when writing draft, all your ideas deserve equal treatment. Still, keep your eye on the thesis statement all the time and relate all arguments to it. That’s the main rule to respect.

Drafting during the Research

When is the right time to start writing drafts? That’s a good question.

Do you start drafting after an in-depth research?

Maybe it’s better to throw some ideas on the draft as you’re researching?

I would opt for the second option. You get the best ideas during the research, so it’s best to put them in your draft while they are still fresh.

How to Write a Rough Draft for an Essay

No matter how flexible you allow yourself to be during draft writing, it’s important to keep the general structure of an essay in mind.

Introduction – It’s the part that brings the reader’s focus on the thesis statement.
Three body paragraphs – Each paragraph comes with one main argument that supports the thesis, and a discussion that supports that argument.

Conclusion – The part that connects all dots, restates the thesis statement and leaves the reader inspired to dig deeper into the topic.

How to Write Rough Draft for a Research Paper

The research paper draft has a more complex structure than an essay. Still, when you know how to draft an essay, it won’t be difficult for you to extend that structure in the form of a research paper.

For example, let’s say you’re writing a research paper named Altering the People’s Habits for Sustainable Living. Your paper will contain an introduction with a strong thesis statement, which you’ll then elaborate in multiple sections of the paper.

The first section may be named The Effects of Current Habits of Energy Use. In this section, you’ll have subsections about climate changes, depletion of fossil fuels, and pollution. Each of these subsections may contain its own subheadings. You get it, right? A research paper is way more complex than an essay since it extends the body paragraphs into a longer discussion that needs more structure. Thus, I strongly suggest outlining before your first research paper rough draft.

The Key Thing to Remember

Repeat this after me: a draft is not a paper. It’s only a rough first version, which will need some analyzing and revising before you feel completely confident about it as well as polishing. After all that effort you invested in this paper, it would be a shame to leave it incomplete.

Hopefully, the tips above gave you an idea on how to start a research paper. So, carry on with the work after this stage.

List of used materials:
1. Outlines Help You Write Better, Faster. Journalistics. Found at:
2. Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper. The Purdue Online Writing Lab. Found at:
3. Parts of a Research Paper. Explorable. Found at: