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The Simplest Way to Write a Unique First Draft

This guest post is by Stefanie Flaxman of Revision Fairy

Do you have 45 minutes to work on your blog?

If so, I can show you how to write the first draft of your next blog post.

First drafts are messy. This blog post originated from five unrelated words on five separate lines, double-spaced, in a Microsoft Word document. That might not sound like a draft, but without that foundation I would have never created the article that you’re currently reading.

Each lonely word just needed friends to complete my thoughts.

Drafts help you express information that can be crafted later. Writing isn’t a linear process—it’s normal to not know how the finished draft will look. Think of writing as constructing a building. You can’t build the structure in a day. You have to first acquire the proper machinery, excavate the land, install a supportive skeleton, etc.

If you don’t write because you think everything comes out wrong, or you can’t get enough done, that’s like saying building construction isn’t worth the effort because you won’t have a completed product by sundown.

You don’t have to perfectly communicate your intentions right away. That’s not necessarily how a great writer creates words that move you. Writing only becomes natural when you practice. To start, you can train yourself to work in short periods of time.

Here are four simple construction tools to help you write your first draft.

Set the timer

Press the start button on a timer set for 45 minutes. Once the clock is ticking, ignore everything but your draft.

I like this time frame because it takes a bit to get into a writing groove. When I give myself 45 minutes, I actually write for about 30 minutes.

Now, it’s time to ask yourself a few questions.

1. Who’s your reader?

Write down your ideal reader’s characteristics.

Is your reader busy? Does he need fast, short tips or detailed, lengthy research? What’s bothering him?

Once you answer this question, write every sentence of your blog post for that person. You may not put any part of your answer in your final draft, but when you clearly define your audience, you get a better sense of what you want to write and why you’re writing.

Frequently reference the answer to this question throughout the writing process. If your ideal reader would not understand certain information, rewrite or eliminate it.

2. What’s the point?

Write your main message in 25 words or less. You can extract a succinct headline from this statement.

Does your headline describe a specific topic? Does it contain appropriate keywords? What will the reader learn if she reads your post? You will need to spend time fine-tuning your headline during future writing sessions, but you should still begin with a precise focus.

Your headline doesn’t just grab a reader’s attention; it helps you summarize your blog post.

3. How can you help?

Write the information that the reader wants to know.

How does your content solve a problem? Don’t waste sentences alluding to answers to a reader’s questions. State them. You don’t have to use complete sentences with eloquent transitions yet, but your ideas should provide immense value.

Share details that support your blog post’s headline. Thoughtful responses to these three questions shape your intentions.

If you write broad answers, you’ll produce a generic blog post that is similar to writing on other websites.

But if you answer specifically, you’ll write the first draft of useful content that gets shared because there’s nothing else like it.

What’s your process for writing first drafts of posts? Is it anything like this? Share your secrets in the comments.

Stefanie Flaxman created Revision Fairy® Small Business Proofreading Services with your editing needs in mind. Follow @RevisionFairy to keep up with Stefanie’s philosophy for writing and editing your life.

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Comments

  1. Samuel says:

    My drafts are sorta clean and sometimes a mess. If I have an important thought process, I always go forward no matter what.

    Drafts are no the final published post, and I agree with the point that you always have to ask the question on what the reader is looking for that particular topic.

    Nice article!

  2. Frank says:

    Good post. I enjoy reading about how other people go about formulating their blog posts.

    Far too often we tend to write only from our own perspective and hope others like it. Take a few minutes to put yourself in the shoes of your reader, then you have a higher likelihood of connecting with them.

  3. This is a nice article. I had problems crafting good drafts but I decided to ask my mentor for help and I got the underground gist. Today, my drafts are a lot better, gets a “YES” and easy to read. Thanks for writing this.

  4. Justin Mazza says:

    I really like this method Stefanie. I use to just take my time writing posts but that is not always the most effective way for writing. I will definitely try your way.

  5. rajesh says:

    Very nice article about making drafts simpler.As a new blogger these instructions were very useful to me.Thanks for sharing

  6. I think you laid out a well-thought and quite an implementable strategy over here, Stefanie. It is quite important that we actually time our selves during any task, as I’ve come to see that adding a time restriction on any always helps in getting the better results. I hadn’t tried this with blogging though, thinking of trying it right now. :)

  7. Hi Stefanie,

    I like your idea and I am going to try it out sometime. It might come in handy with the draft of my next guest post.

    My strategy for writing my content, even my eBooks, is that I write down the main points I would like to bring across to my reader. These will be very short and to the point but powerful sentences which will catch the attention of my reader. These short 10-word sentences, at most, will often become my header tags for each topic within my content.

    Remember that when I chose a niche before even setting up my site, I went through the whole process of finding and evaluating MY ONE PERSON I will be writing to at all times. This I also keep in mind whenever I get an idea in my head and I evaluate immediately if it would be something my ONE PERSON would be interested in.

    Your strategy may be just the idea to use when drafting guest posts however, as obviously it is to a different audience.

    Then I simply start writing everything that comes to mind underneath each heading, dividing each thought into a separate paragraph. In the end I have myself a lengthy but value-packed article that keeps you on the tip of your seat as much of the time as possible.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. I agree, I usually have a notepad, I write down roughly what I want to write about in a kind of loose headline then do several bullet points. I might add a some meat to the bullet points then I go to the laptop and write. As you say, it isn’t linear, I will go back over it again and again, reading and changing things until I am happy. Having a draft is important otherwise I would be sat staring at a blank screen all day! :-)

    Cheers
    Andi

  9. Being a better blog writer is a challenging task and it should also be understood that most people are not successful when they first start.

    Just remember that while patience, evaluation and practice are all steps in the process, that you’re genuinely interested in beginning a blog initiative in the first place may be the most important factor of all.Just get started…

  10. darkduck says:

    My blog post starts with trying new CD / DVD/ USB inserted into my laptop. Because I review Linux Operating Systems.

  11. Kevin says:

    My blog posts for my personal blog are often created in a few minutes then posted after a quick proofread. I’ve been looking for a method to use for the times that I want to create a guest post or three. I don’t want it to be the same stuff other people are writing. I’ll have to give your method a try. I especially like figuring out who your reader is and only writing to them. It might no please everybody, but it should please who you want to please.

  12. Something I have really struggled with but these guidelines will really help me with future articles…..thanks

  13. Liz says:

    Hey Stefanie,

    Gotta love the timer. I actually have a real kitchen, old fashioned timer on my desk and I use it. I usually give myself an hour, because that’s just works for me. Any longer though and it’s hard to stay focused.

    Liz :-)

  14. A timer maybe beneficial I sometimes become a little scatty with my time and subject of my blog posts.

  15. Lokesh Chauhan says:

    Hello Darren Sir !
    i am a big fan of your and i also want to be a Pro-Blogger i reads all of your posts twice i really like your posts but i have a question that how much posts an average person can write in 45 minutes. ?
    i like your point ”SET THE TIMER” by doing this we can do all other works also like studying and all.
    and the Biggest thing in blogging in to have Patience if one don’t have patience then he or she can’t do blogging.
    Thank You for posting such a Detailed Post.

    With best Regard:
    Lokesh Chauhan

  16. My drafts are sorta clean and sometimes a mess. If I have an important thought process, I always go forward no matter what.

    Drafts are no the final published post, and I agree with the point that you always have to ask the question on what the reader is looking for that particular topic.

    Nice article!

  17. King Andrew says:

    Set the timer is really a good strategy for writing a blog. I know that writing is very time consuming and I agree with the term set the timer for 45 minutes because you can do your work clean and fast. Patience should be apply also if you are a blogger because as what Lokesh Chauhan said you cant do blogging if you dont have this. :)