Introduction to Drafting

What you’ll learn to do: evaluate drafting techniques

Writing is a way to end up thinking something you couldn’t have started out thinking.

—Peter Elbow, Writing Without Teachers

"Draft" bullet list: first, working, final.

According to English Professor and author Peter Elbow, the best way to accomplish deep thinking is through a series of drafts that come together to produce an emerging “center of gravity” that then translates into the main focus on the work. This process should be a holistic process, not a linear process. Elbow’s reasoning behind this concept of multiple drafts follows the idea that, “if [a writer] learns to maximize the interaction among his own ideas or points of view, he can produce new ones that didn’t seem available to him.”

In other words, it’s difficult to predict where your thoughts and your argument will end up when working on an essay draft. And that’s a good thing.

This is the reason that writing assignments are so common in higher education: they develop a deep level of thinking that’s only possible through this process.

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