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Creating Your First Assignment Draft- A Students’ Guide!

Table of Contents

Commonly known as the sloppy copy, the first draft is a rough copy of your paper assignment format. It is an incomplete piece of writing mainly to sort ideas for the paper. 

The initial paper draft also comprises the build-up for the outlined content during your planning stage. It comprises topic statements for all your vital points and lecture notes from the professor to later include in the main essay. 

The whole point of drafting assignments is to let you include your ideas in the paper without getting into the details or being creative. Here is why it is important:

  • It assists you in developing more cohesive texts and extensive research on the topic coverage.
  • It establishes the topic’s purpose, target audience, nature or genre of the writing task. 
  • It allows them to organise their paper and accomplish a logical flow between ideas.
  • It allows the scope to add and subtract information in the compiled draft. 

In the first draft, you must merely create a skeleton for your essay and buff it up with proper information, arguments, examples and substantiating evidence. While it’s best not to deviate from the set assignment format, you can change it later during the writing stage.

On that note, here is the general format of essay writing:

  • Introduction – 1 stanza that consumes 8-10% of the essay content
  • Body – The focal point comprising 3 or more stanzas, constituting 80-84% of the essay
  • Conclusion – Final paragraph of the essay that takes up 8-10% of the paper  

Let us now understand how to prepare the first draft.

Preparing for the First Draft

Understanding the Assignment Requirements

To prepare the first draft, you must understand the assignment requirements. Grasp the topic context to determine what is expected from you.

Create topic-centric questions (with answers) in the initial draft. Also, set a baseline for conducting research for each part of the essay and craft a rough thesis statement (in case you haven’t decided on the specific topic title.  

Ideally, it’s best to include a probable list of authentic, primary and secondary source links in the rough draft. It will give you clarity and direction for your paper, thus making the writing phase hassle-free!

Choosing a Topic & Crafting a Suitable Thesis Statement

Basic considerations when choosing an essay topic:

  • Always pick a subject/idea that’s trending or interesting to the readers.
  • Choose a topic that allows ample scope for extensive research.
  • Ensure the chosen subject is not too broad or narrow. You mustn’t exceed the word limit, but you (certainly) can’t fall short of it either. So, pick wisely.
  • Don’t pick a common topic that’s already over-researched. 
  • The chosen idea or subject should provide logical arguments for all sides.
  • Also, look for topics you like, understand or want to learn more about. 

3-Part Consideration for a Thesis Statement

  1. You briefly introduce the topic.
  2. State your point/make an assertion on the title.
  3. Lastly, you add reasons to support the argument.

Remember, the thesis statement must be compiled in one concise sentence. It prepares readers for what follows in the body. 

Write a rough thesis statement on the picked topic in the initial draft. It will give you a starting point for the introduction. Modify later if you find more topic-relevant data for the body stanzas.

Conducting Research (If Applicable)

Academic essays all rely on smart, tactful and accurate research. It defines your paper’s purpose and educates targeted readers with useful and relatable data on the title subject.

However, several students struggle in the initial stages of their essay writing. Either they can’t determine which topic to pick. Or they fail to locate authentic sites to use as primary and secondary data sources. 

Creating an initial draft is helpful for students uncertain about how to begin their essays. In the draft, writers can mention a title idea, prepare the paper framework, and even list potential authentic sources.

Furthermore, students can conduct more research, if applicable, after reviewing the rough format to justify the coverage in the paper.

Organizing Notes and Ideas

The whole point of compiling the initial draft is to organise research notes, data and ideas.

Plus, you can determine their best usage throughout the paper before writing it. These may include data tables, numerical statistics, background information, expert interviews or opinions, surveys and other useful information from library databases (online and offline).

A sound essay pattern gives you a sense of direction, clarity and confidence to produce a flawless piece within the deadline.

With everything well organised in the initial draft (and in your notebook), you will enjoy writing the essay per the set outline. You can add more data or another section in the body if required. 

Remain within the word limit. It may be challenging depending on the topic. But, the exercise will improve your writing and data communication skills too. 

Setting Up the Writing Environment

Choosing the Right Tools

Another essential facet of compiling excellent research-centric essays is setting up an ideal working environment.

The first step is ensuring you have all the right tools to work in peace. Ensure you have the following tools at your disposal for smooth writing.

  • Word processor
  • Notebooks
  • Flow charts
  • Pin-boards
  • Stationaries (pen, marker, rough sheets),
  • Proper lights
  • Reliable internet connection
  • A fully functioning machine
  • A dictionary and thesaurus

Also, keep a task management system (like, for example, Google Sheets) if you prefer to keep store data offline and online per your convenience!

Creating A Distraction-Free Workspace

  • Pick a dedicated working space in your home/room. Make limited access to the area. Plus, ensure it’s an area you feel at ease and confident about. 
  • Keep the workspace neat and uncluttered. Fix spots for each item or tool and ensure no one misplaces them in your absence. Keep the space off-limits for young kids or pets (if any).
  • The spot should be somewhere that keeps distractions (like outside noise and commotion from other rooms) away. Ideally, the spot should be away from any windows or connecting doors. Pick a spot away from access points to guarantee peace of mind while working. 
  • Keep your headphones nearby if you need soothing music to ease your mind, overcome writer’s block and regain concentration.
  • Keep all classroom notes, peer suggestions, library books and other downloaded resources in one place – preferably in a file or folder. Keep it close so you can find it during the writing stage.
  • Safe your initial draft on the desktop to get easy access.
  • While working, keep a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign at your room’s door to ensure no unwanted surprises arise while working to ruin your concentration.

Setting Realistic Goals and A Writing Schedule

You must also consider setting realistic writing targets and a dedicated schedule to work on parts of the essay.

There is no reason or need to write the entire essay in one attempt. So, set small yet achievable targets for each day. Also, fix a time (2-3 hours) to work and achieve the set target within that schedule.

Keep a timer or alarm clock if that helps to manage your time. 

Don’t slack off or procrastinate. Remain true to your goal. It will allow you to progress bit by bit each day. Eventually, in 3-4 days, you will complete most of the essay and even find time to add the finishing touches and polish it with proper editing and proofing.

Elucidated Examples of the First Draft of Assignment

Writing the first draft of an assignment can be intimidating, especially if you lack good writing skills or have inadequate knowledge about how to go about the task. However, when you have top-class examples to refer to, writing the first draft can become less troublesome. Explore our examples of first-draft assignments to streamline your writing process.

Assignment Draft Example

Check This Assignment Draft Example

View Sample

Crafting the First Draft

Starting with an Engaging Introduction

For the initial draft, keeping 1-3 lines for the introduction is recommended. Include the topic hook and thesis statement to stay on track and know your arguments. 

You can dive in more on the argument during the writing stage. Include writing prompts, ideas and context to elaborate later on. 

Here’s How to Draft the Introduction

  • Add a catchy hook sentence in 1st line. You can use a quotation, riveting statistic or shocking revelation on the coverage to engage readers.
  • Give a brief of what the paper will entail.
  • The argument starter.
  • The thesis statement is in 1-line (max 2).

Developing Coherent and Focused Body Paragraphs

The body is the main meat of your essay. It explains all views, arguments and topic-stance.

Each stanza will focus on various sides of the thesis statement and topic. And each fact/view/argument must be backed with authentic evidence.

Moreover, every new stanza must have a topic line to hint to readers what it entails below. Transitions between sections must be silken smooth. Plus, the writing tone must be professional and informative.

Here’s how to draft the body stanzas

Stanza 1 – Topic statement

  • 1st argument on the topic
  • Supporting data and research evidence for the argument 

Stanza 2 – Topic Statement

  • 2nd argument on the topic
  • Supporting data and research evidence for the argument 

Stanza 3 – Topic Statement

  • 3rd argument on the topic
  • Supporting data and research evidence for the argument 

The body discusses 3 (or more) topic/thesis statement facets. Each must be substantiated with legitimate and verifiable evidence from primary and secondary data sources.

Include relevant examples and unique perspectives for each stanza. Also, use appropriate transitions between paragraphs to ensure the main flow and quality. 

Addressing Potential Counterarguments

Remember to address probable counterarguments in the body (if applicable). Keep another body stanza to refute the opposing stances using words like however, although, contrariwise, etc.

Here’s how to draft counterarguments in the body

BODY Stanza 4 – Topic Statement

  • Acknowledge (with respect) the standpoints or evidence differing from yours.
  • Refute the stance without condemning or criticising any authors. Tactfully establish why your stance is appropriate to the counterarguments. 
  • Add supporting data and research evidence to strengthen your argument /stance.

Don’t elaborate on anything. Mention the key points in the initial draft that help you remember while writing.

Creating a Compelling Conclusion

The section will wrap up all essential points, arguments and discussions. Again, all facts must be backed with substantiating evidence. It will also recap the thesis statement. 

Lastly, it will have a solid punch line or finishing sentence emphasising the topic’s importance to readers. Alternatively, it can also hint at further research on the coverage to create excitement in readers.

Here’s how to draft the conclusion.

  • Connect all key discussions.
  • Recap thesis statement briefly.
  • Present a sense of closure for readers.
  • Provide a larger or universal takeaway for the audience as an ending statement. 

Techniques to Improve the First Draft

Avoiding Self-Editing During the Drafting Process

Never edit or make changes in the initial drafting process. After roughly outlining what the essay will feature once written, ask a peer or professor (if willing) to review the initial draft. 

Request them to edit or provide suggestions for improving the first draft. 

You must edit and proofread once the paper is complete. Editing while drafting the essay will remove much of the paper’s potential and leave you with minimal options and scope. 

Incorporating Descriptive Language and Vivid Imagery

Using descriptive language and vivid imagery is an essential facet of writing. However, it’s best to use it for specific essays – narrative, descriptive, imaginative, autobiography, etc.

You can use evocative adjectives (blinding, astonishing, deafening, etc.) to appeal to the 5 senses of readers – touch, taste, smell, sight, sound!

Using them while writing will make the piece more memorable and engaging for the aimed audience!

Using Active Voice and Varied Sentence Structures

  • Always write in active voice (subject + verb + object) to shorten sentences and communicate better.
  • Use varied sentence structures to avoid redundancy.
  • Follow a dense sentence (a compound-complex statement with 2 independent clauses) with a simpler one (with no independent or dependent clause or conjunction).
  • Utilize vivid transition terms throughout the post (but, for, therefore, however, moreover, because, although, etc.)
  • Use semi-colons to reduce excessive conjunctions.
  • Incorporate rhetorical questions to stimulate the reader’s mind. For instance, ‘ Imagine if there was no need for wars?’

Checking for Logical Flow and Coherence

  • Focus on the paper’s overall structure. Check if the subject line and supporting headers correctly reveal what you aim to describe.
  • Check if all paraphrased lines make sense and provide useful information.
  • Scan transition terms and connections with sentences. 
  • Check if all stanzas focus on specific themes of the main topic and are backed with legitimate evidence. 

Additionally, you can request a close friend or sibling to check your first draft. 

You can also hire essay specialists online to check your initial draft and suggest insights on how to start a writing assignment/essay from conception.

Dealing with Writer’s Block and Challenges

Strategies to Overcome Writer’s Block

  • Develop writing habits at a scheduled time and stick to them routinely.
  • Discuss/brainstorm ideas with a close friend, sibling/peer.
  • Figure out which time you’re most creative and plan to write then.
  • Unplug from digital distractions and keep your work desk clutter-free. Also, use time blocking to schedule writing time. 
  • Read books or browse topic-related articles, research papers, journals and other mediums to get fresh inspiration.
  • Ease your mind by listening to music. Alternatively, you can eat ice cream, chocolate or even go out for a walk. After the break, sit down and try again. 
  • Do free writing for 15-20 minutes. Don’t worry about correctness. Just write. It could help you gather your thoughts and find new ideas. Enjoy the process. Eventually, something will hit you and get you started again.

Seeking Feedback from Peers or Instructors

You must always seek additional feedback and support from the course instructor or peers- especially concerning your first essay draft.

Trading ideas and thoughts before writing always begets more creativity, confidence and assurance. Moreover, it lets you improve upon potential errors and refine the essay draft before writing it.

So, don’t hold back from asking for help whenever needed.

Managing Time and Dealing with Procrastination

  • Fix a work schedule during your favourite time (morning, noon, evening or night) and stick to it.
  • Take minimal breaks when writing to avoid time wastage.
  • Break tasks into manageable parts. Start small but with energy and confidence. It will help you begin the task (and finish it) without even realising it. Once that happens, you will be underway for the following sections. 
  • Always prioritise tasks and set time limits to completing them.
  • Refrain from multitasking. Focus on the priority task, like the most difficult part of your assignment. Fix a schedule and time to work on it and finish it.
  • Say no to a friend’s calling or other distractions during working hours. Do it afterwards.
  • Recognise your procrastinating and correct yourself. That’s the best solution to overcoming it.

Editing and Revising the First Draft

Taking a Break Before Revisiting the Draft 

Always revise the first draft with a fresh mind. Either take a small break and revisit the draft or do it the next day. 

Reviewing for Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation Errors 

Take time and check for all writing errors (spelling, grammar and punctuation). But don’t do it immediately after you’re prepared the first draft. 

Clarifying Confusing or Unclear Sections

Recheck all sections, sentences and connecting points in the rough draft. Edit unclear sections to ensure clarity. 

Strengthening Arguments and Ideas

Keep scope for more research and add relevant information to strengthen ideas and arguments. Also, remove unnecessary sections, phrases or points from the first draft (whenever needed).

Peer Review and Feedback

Exchanging Drafts with Classmates for Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism from classmates/peers is always helpful in improving your first draft. You can remove dodgy sections or irrelevant points that do nothing but consume words. 

Thus, find something willing to exchange drafts with you and work conjointly.

Implementing Useful Feedback

Refer to the shared feedback and implement then into the initial draft wherever applicable. Getting a 2nd opinion helps in improving the work quality. 

Of course, don’t share your rough draft with anyone. Do it with someone you trust to provide honest, unbiased and helpful feedback.

Knowing When and How to Make Revisions

Knowing when and how to revise your first draft is also important. While getting feedback from reliable peers is one approach, there are other methods to achieving accuracy.

  • Revise after a break. It helps you be more objective when checking.
  • Check the draft once complete. Don’t draft and revise simultaneously!
  • Review the paper’s main context and see if it connects with the thesis statement
  • Check the paper’s balance. There should be equal weightage on each topic stanza.

Hire professional assignment editors and proofreaders to revise your work properly. These specialists will even educate on what is not a basic requirement for a writing assignment.

Finalizing the First Draft

Proper revisions are the first step to finalizing the rough draft. You must edit and proofread everything included in the draft. Check the set structure, the paper’s aim, the relevance of the thesis statement and the overall balance. 

Every essay task comes with its formatting guidelines. Check if the final draft is formatted per the set guidelines when revising. Wrong formatting leads to mark deductions. So, pay attention to this facet if you don’t want to miss out on valuable marks. 

Finally, you must incorporate a bibliography page featuring a list of all in-text source citations used throughout the paper.

It will come after the conclusion. So, you can do it at last. 

Wrapping Up

Focus on creating the initial draft first up. It is the map to your essay and makes the writing process breeze (if well-crafted).

Making the first draft can be tough, especially if you lack proper writing prowess or critical thinking skills. However, don’t give up and always persevere in producing top-quality work. 

Hard work, determination, taking continuous feedback and revising are the key determinants to churning out excellent first drafts for the paper.  

Use this comprehensive guide and start preparing the rough draft today. It will (certainly) reduce the workload and ease your anxiety and fear. 

Frequently Asked Questions by Students:

What Is the Purpose of the “Creating the First Draft” Assignment?

The purpose of the first draft is to sketch out rough ideas for writing and create a structure for the whole paper. Metaphorically speaking, it is the skeleton of your essay.

How Should I Approach the First Draft Creation Process?

  • Jot down the main points of the topic
  • Set an essay framework comprising an introduction, body and conclusion
  • Roughly write the hook line, thesis statement, topic statements for body sections and conclusion outline.
  • Revise the accuracy of the paper’s context and if it is significant for the readers.
  • Ask someone to review the paper and provide feedback to improve the first draft.

Additionally, you can consult essay helpers online on how to make a draft format of assignment writing.

Is There a Specific Format or Structure I Should Follow for The First Draft?

The standard structure for the rough draft must be as below –

  • Introduction – rough topic announcement, thesis statement. It must have 1 stanza.
  • The body must have separate stanzas with the topic statement and supporting evidence. It must have 3-5 stanzas.
  • Conclusion – connecting all shared points with a recap of the thesis statement. Also, include a rough ending line with a universal message for readers. It must have 1 stanza.

Can I Seek Feedback or Assistance While Working on The First Draft?

You must. Ideally, you must ask someone trustworthy to review your first draft and suggest improvements.

Is There a Recommended Word Count or Page Limit for the First Draft?

There is no fixed limit. It varies among topics, depth or research and the writer. Yet, it should be between 200-500 words (for a 2500-3000 word essay).

Hi, I am Mark, a Literature writer by profession. Fueled by a lifelong passion for Literature, story, and creative expression, I went on to get a PhD in creative writing. Over all these years, my passion has helped me manage a publication of my write ups in prominent websites and e-magazines. I have also been working part-time as a writing expert for for 5+ years now. It’s fun to guide students on academic write ups and bag those top grades like a pro. Apart from my professional life, I am a big-time foodie and travel enthusiast in my personal life. So, when I am not working, I am probably travelling places to try regional delicacies and sharing my experiences with people through my blog. 

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