Drafting refers to the act of writing. Writers may draft by handwriting, by writing online, or by dictation.
- Drafting is distinct from Heuristics (Prewriting Exercises) in the sense that those exercises are designed to help a writer become more rhetorically focused and more sensitive information literacy, collaboration, and research goals. Heuristics (Prewriting Exercises) are warm up exercises–what happens before the main event.
- Drafting is also distinct from the notetaking involved in Preliminary Research.
- Drafting is also distinct from the rewriting of existing content that constitutes Revision.
Many variable influence how rhetors approach Drafting.
Personality, literacy history, and learning style: Some writers prefer to write as few drafts as possible. They prefer to work out in their heads what they want to say prior to digging in and writing sentences and paragraphs. For others, drafting is a powerful way of figuring out what they want to say.
Rhetorical situation: Depending on the difficulty of the task, some writers may bypass Invention Heuristics and Preliminary Research and immediately begin Drafting. Contextual variables play a big role in how much drafting is required:
- for a task that requires little research or planning, writers may sit down and write one draft before tweeting, emailing, or sharing it.
- for a task that involves many writers who are coauthoring, drafting could occur in a google doc, and it could be characterized by multiple drafts tagged with long conversations
- for a single-authored, long-form document, drafting could occur in a blog format and only later be synthesized later into a single document.
Drafting @ Writing Commons
One of the central tenets of process pedagogy is that the process of drafting is a generative process. In other words, writers learn by writing (see Composition Theory).
According to this view of composing, even a lousy start is better than nothing at all. Thought finds form via drafting. Trust the process. Once you’ve started thinking, you never know where you’re truly headed, particularly if you embrace a Growth Mindset and the generative nature of the composing process.
Hopefully Writing Commons provides you with the Declarative/Conceptual Knowledge you need to engage wholeheartedly in Invention. Faith in the Creative Process comes with time and a playful approach to professionalism and a sound work ethic.
Ideally Drafting is ongoing. Once you start a project, you want to be open to the random sentence that occurs to you during a shower or a walk upstairs. Listen to yourself. Believe in yourself. Just get it down. Don’t prejudge.
Drafting involves shutting off the negative voice within you and trusting the generative nature of language to help you find exactly what you want to say. You must have confidence that your writing will be concise, coherent, and persuasive, given enough time and effort.