Monday, December 5, 2022

Don't Write A Weak Rough Draft

There is often a belief that your rough draft is just that... rough. While this is true, I have often heard authors and those who claim to understand the writing process, claim that a writer should not worry about the quality of the rough draft. Just get the words on the page is what they say! While this is sort of true, there is a HUGE flaw in this argument.

When I teach about the writing process, I always like to use a couple of symbols to explain this.

For the music people you understand these two symbols. The first is the crescendo (math people it is lesser than) and the second is the decrescendo (this is the greater than). If you understand the crescendo, it means to get louder. Now think of writing, as you are reaching the end of the book, or you are fast approaching that deadline, your stress level starts to increase. You start making more and more mistakes. Now, add in the fact that you just dumped words on the page early on and you end up with a huge mess to have to clean up. 

When you take the decrescendo approach, it means to "front load" your work. If you plan out your story, you now know where you are going to go and less likely to run into a brick wall. You will have already seen the potential problems and thought these out before you got to them. It also means that if you work to make that "rough draft" as close to your "final draft" as possible, the work you are going to have to do to clean things up in the end will be far less.

So, the suggestion is simple. Pay attention to the details. Pay attention to the grammar and the wording. Keep checking for all of those typos (which by the way are errors once you send in the manuscript). Always think. Always fix those problems when you see them. Don't just say you will go back and fix it. Remember that everything you are doing AFTER that mistake is based on that mistake. Now you have more to do. 

Just a suggestion. Take it or leave it.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great advice! I have a book that I wrote years ago that is such a hot mess, I can't even try to clean it up. It would be better to write it again, with a much cleaner first draft.