The main purpose of the first draft is to get your ideas on paper. Writers sometimes find themselves getting stuck when writing their paper and become frustrated with the process. To minimize frustration in writing the first draft, try utilizing the following tips.​​​

​​​Tip 1: Start With​​ What You Know

Many writers have either been taught to write in a linear fashion or simply assume that the best place to start is the introduction. After all, it is the start of the paper, so it makes sense that the writer would start there. However, the purpose of the introduction is to provide an overview of what the paper will be about—which is difficult to do if the paper hasn't been written yet! It is usually a better use of time to save your introduction for later, when you know what you are introducing. If you want to add a placeholder, simply jot down key ideas such as the thesis and complete the rest later.

In addition, writers can move around in the document as they draft. If you get stuck on a certain section, that is fine. Move to a section you feel you can write easily about, then come back to difficult section later. This will help you navigate those times when your feel stuck in a writer's block.​

​Tip 2: Tak​​e Some Pressure Off Yourself

Grammar, mechanics, and formatting are important. However, they are not important at this stage of the writing process. If too much focus is given to grammar, mechanics, and formatting this early in the writing process, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed. It is better to use this stage to develop your ideas thoroughly. Ultimately, since you will make changes to your paper later, this will save you time and effort. Keep in mind that this is the first draft, so it does not need to be perfect.​​

​​​Tip 3: Talk to Yo​urself

Some writers do enjoy talking to themselves out loud when they write; however, that is not the intent here. At times, the writer may find that they are generating so many ideas that they have a hard time keeping up. If this is the case, write notes to yourself using the comment feature in Microsoft Word or, if you prefer pen-to-paper systems, keep a notepad or stack of sticky notes handy as you work.​​

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