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Academic Writing Process - Terre Haute: Write

Resources to make the writing process - from brainstorming to final citation and bibliography - as painless as possible.

Books on Writing

Writing a First Draft

Beginning to write a paper can be difficult for many reasons. You may be nervous, feel as though you do not know what you are doing, or have bad memories of difficult papers from junior high or high school. The goal of this LibGuide is to make the actual writing as painless as possible. If you followed the Guide tabs from left to right, you should already have completed most of your research, brainstorming, and organizing. Now it is time to put pen to paper (or cursor to screen) and start the writing.


Here are some simple tips to make writing your first draft easy:


  • Start writing your paper as though you are explaining your topic to a family member or friend, using as much detail as you can. It may be helpful to record yourself verbally telling someone about your topic and then use the recording to type your first draft.
  • Have your research notes and outline (or whatever organizational tool you used) available. As you begin writing (or talking), follow your outline and say everything you know about each point. You may need to refer to your notes for details or statistics that back up a point you are making.
  • Don't worry about getting it "perfect". There is a reason the first draft is often called "rough draft" - it's just that, rough.
  • Your introduction tells people what you are going to write about in general and why it is important
  • When you reach the end of your outline and run out of things to talk about, sum up your points in the conclusion. Introduction: broad; conclusion: specific.
  • If your paper is a specific type - proposal, research report, business plan, persuasive/argumentative, etc. - please use the resources to the left for further guidance.


Congratulations, your first draft is done!