Writing Tips to Help With Your Draft
Do you have a draft you need to refine? Tired of constantly being told what to do with your draft when it needs help? Are you looking for ways to improve it on your own? Here are tips and tricks you can use to better your draft:
- Alternatives to think about
In what terms do you have permission to alter the tone, organization, and style? What else could you change? What would your final product look like? Your draft may sound as if you are conversing with your best friend, yet it needs to be more academic. How can you fix that?
- Don’t cannibalize your draft
Do not rewrite from the top of your draft. It could be worse than rewriting because you are changing the basic style. Think of splitting time to work on both the writing and reading level of your draft. If you rewrite, brainstorm which parts may be improved with rewriting or editing.
- Start at the beginning
Start by rereading your outline and paragraph structure. Do that because you may be reorganizing those in addition to writing, which could cause you to lose energy since you are not writing.
- Edit as you go
Edit into the process instead of editing as you go. While not perfect, it is a practical way to find problems more quickly and efficiently. You may end up catching something beforehand or discovering something from an earlier step.
- Don’t be disorganized
If you are editing as you go, make sure your draft’s flow is logical. You should be able to read it and understand what you wrote. Organize what you write in a way that makes sense. It will help improve your writing by giving readers a clear structure to follow and may save time in the end because your editor will discover things more quickly and more easily.
- Choose what you can fix
Do not be afraid to fix major things in your draft. Set a standard for yourself. Ensure it is clear what you are writing and how it relates to the beginning of your draft. If you need to go back and change something, figure out how much time would take and whether it needs to be changed.
- Add transitions
Some readers will skip over your text, particularly if you are short on sentences. Make it clear when something happens. Use a transition. For example, “After John slid into the seat behind him …” or “Into the seat behind her …”
- Make sure it all works together
Keep track of what you write on paper and how it all fits together in your manuscript. Once it is all done, find out how much time and energy you spent on it.
- Write in short chunks
Split your document into several sections of text to make editing easier. It will allow you to focus on only one section at a time. If you don’t split your manuscript this way, you will find yourself rewriting parts of it when you discover something wrong with the rest of the draft.
- Avoid jargon
Jargon is the language used in a particular field or by people already educated and experienced in that field. The problem with jargon is that it makes it difficult for a reader to understand what you mean or what you have written. Instead, explain it in layman’s terms.
- Be specific
Take your time to write specific details instead of general information. It will make your draft more powerful and will help you avoid repeating yourself.
- Write it once
If possible, rewrite your draft. Rewrite it until you have what you want written. That will save time by streamlining a project that needs to be rewritten repeatedly and take the pressure off of yourself since you are not forcing yourself to write something that is not working.