It's always helpful to remember that a first draft is just that -- the very first, roughest go at it among all of the revisions and iterations that will come along. However, that lonely little underappreciated first draft is a doorway to opportunity. It's an opportunity to clarify goals. A chance to assess direction and style. It literally illustrates where we can improve and how far we've come.
Maybe you know what you want the piece to accomplish or to explain, but the how of it is not quite straight in your head. You want it to be engaging. To be clear. To be simple. To be better than the competition! And yet, ACK, that poor little first draft is not what you'd hoped! Whatever that was supposed to have been.
So, is there any way around that painful first contact? Whether you write the piece yourself or hire someone to do it for you, these tips will help:
- Find samples of the things you like -- whether an entire document or just a feature in an article.
- Briefly outline the main goal of what you're writing. (HINT: More than 3 goals means you probably need to rethink it.)
- Know your topic -- don't get tripped up trying to explain something you don't quite understand.
- Write to your strengths -- use your own authentic voice in the first draft and leave the polish for later drafts.
- Edit, revise and edit some more until it's what you want.
- Have someone else review and comment on the document.
- If you've hired someone to do the writing, discuss the process and number of revisions ahead of time.
Keep hope alive and keep on keeping on. That final draft is going to shine.
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