Writing a Good Essay Draft: Strategies, Relevance, and Advice

Writing an essay draft is a controversial task. Many students hate the very idea of it because they think it’s a waste of their time. And in some instances, it might be true. You could be a talented and experienced writer even at college, and composing a paper could be a piece of cake for you. But such cases are an exception. Most people struggle with putting their ideas on paper and building logical links between them. Drafts could make this process easier for them, and this is exactly why they are important.

But first, let’s understand the draft essay definition. Draft is a rough sketch of a paper that presents a brief overview of the writer's ideas. It introduces major points but stops at that. You aren’t expected to develop these points further — this is something you’ll have to do in the final version of the paper. So what specific elements should drafts have and how to write them? Read our guide and you’ll find answers to all your questions.

Factors That Make Essay Drafts Vital

When students use top rated essay writing services, they don’t have to worry about drafts. They get a paper written in accordance with their instructions that they can submit to their professors. But those who are writing essays by themselves face one and the same problem: how to do everything quickly and learn if they are on the right track? Draft is the answer. You already know the draft paper definition, but now let’s figure out what makes it so important.

  • It saves time. After your draft is complete, you’ll be able to use and recycle it for creating a final essay. The ideas are already there: all you need is to expand them and add some extra details. Instead of doing lengthy research, making several outlines, and agonizing over each paragraph in the hope of making them perfect, you’ll just have to make a quick draft and then spend some time on expanding and polishing it. As practice shows, this will go faster than if you tried writing a final essay version from the start.

  • It gives students a chance to know the professor's opinion. What is a first draft: it’s the first version of a paper you craft to show to your professors. This is extremely important because if you did something wrong, misunderstood an assignment, or started exploring an irrelevant direction, they’ll let you know. You won’t get a failing grade no matter how many mistakes your draft has, and you’ll get recommendations about how to correct mistakes and improve your future essay.

  • It shows writers a bigger picture. When you aren’t investing yourself into writing a final version and draft an essay instead, you yourself can catch mistakes or understand that you need to do something differently. For example, you wanted to research a rare topic and were confident that you’d find enough materials for supporting your position. But as you started to structure your draft and introduce point by point, you saw that there is not enough evidence to help you write a lengthy essay. Instead of realizing you wasted a lot of time, you can just switch between ideas. That’s the beauty of drafts: they are a start of your ideas, and you can see if something isn’t working early on.

Writing Your Draft in Four Steps

Composing a first draft essay isn’t difficult. There are only 4 steps involved, and they are easy to follow. Do that and you’ll be done in no time.

1. Choose a Topic and Find Sources

Sometimes students have to choose topics from the available list, but other times, they have the right to choose. If this happens, try coming up with something that you find really interesting. Check online topic generators or look through lists with suggestions. Then start looking for sources. Are there enough of them? Can you find at least several credible articles supporting your analysis? If not, try another topic.

2. Create a Thesis

If you look at any essay draft example, you will see that they all are centered on the thesis. Thesis is the last sentence of introduction that reflects the essence of your work. Your main idea is in it, so you should write it first and foremost. What is the purpose of your essay? Make a claim and include as many points into it as you need. Note that you’d have to address each of them in the body of your essay. For example, an argumentative thesis could be, “Female genital mutilation should be outlawed in every US state because it causes irreversible physical and psychological damage to a child.” By looking at it, you’d know that the first body paragraph would deal with female circumcision in the US in general; the second would focus on physical damage, and the third would concern the psychological harm.

3. Make an Outline

This is how to draft an essay outline: follow your thesis and build several relevant points on its basis. For instance, using our sample topic, you could write, “Paragraph 1: When female genital mutilation was banned in the US and other changes in this law.”

4. Describe Each Major Point Briefly

Add some descriptions for each point. This will serve as your first draft essay example — later on, you could use it to expand your draft if needed and then for completing your final essay.

Key Issues to Consider When You Start Drafting

As students start working on their drafts, they should keep a few more things in mind. First, at this stage, your ideas are not set in stone. Writing is a creative process even if you’re crafting seemingly boring academic papers, so if you wanted to explore one topic but then realized you’re more interested in something else, change your focus. No one will blame you, and since it’s just the start of work, you won’t lose much.

Another thing is asking for help if you’re facing any difficulties with drafting an essay. Some tasks are more important than others, and if you’re a fairly new writer, the stakes could be high. For example, students who must submit personal statements worry about being accepted a lot, so they could read a personal statement editing services review and hire a firm with experts to help them out. This way, they could get advice on their work and have their major mistakes corrected. There is also a chance to consult a professor or college writing center. Don’t be afraid — in the end, it’ll make your essay stronger.

Common Mistakes Students Make with Their Drafts

Numerous students make similar mistakes when they write their drafts. We decided to collect them and share them here. Take a look and remember them when you begin your work: this could help you avoid serious errors.

  • Writing too much content. What is a draft essay? It’s an initial rough version of your future paper. Students should include the basics here, nothing more, so avoid writing many details. You’ll have a chance to include as well as expand on them when working on the final essay — for now, you’re just sketching your ideas and teasing their potential. If you write too much and then your final paper doesn’t differ from the draft much, your grade might suffer since professors consider it a serious mistake.

  • Having a lengthy conclusion. Students could craft a wholesome introduction, but when it comes to essay conclusion, they either shouldn’t write it at all or add just several details. Why? Because you cannot know what findings you might uncover before you research every point in depth. It means that you cannot formulate the final section — there is simply not enough info for it, so don’t waste your time on it as you’d have to redo it anyway.

  • Being too generic. Draft shouldn’t be overly generic. You’re exploring a specific topic, so it should have specific ideas, too. Some students treat drafts like a chore: they write down random thoughts and submit them, hoping it’ll be enough. It won’t, so you should do a better job. Remember that every detail you add will benefit you later.

  • Jumping between points. Each essay, draft version or not, should have structure. Refine your paragraphs to make certain that they reflect your ideas clearly. Don’t introduce three points together — dedicate separate passages to them.

How to Write a Draft Essay: Things to Do and to Avoid

Now it’s time to make a summary of all the points we’ve mentioned today. If students don’t have time or patience to read everything, they should look at this list. It alone will be able to help them.


  • Come up with a thesis. Base your draft on the thesis, the main claim that gives direction to your whole essay. It’s a vital part of your draft, so you must develop it right after coming up with a topic.

  • Outline major ideas. Describe each major idea you have for this paper.

  • Add sources. Search for good sources in advance. You need to make certain that there are enough of them to support an entire paper.

  • Look at examples. Find a professional example of a draft essay before writing your own. This helps students understand what and how they should write.

  • Proofread your draft. Be sure to proofread your draft after you’re done writing it. If you are uncertain about your English skills, hire the best online proofreading service and let experts do the job. Fluency is important even at this stage.


  • Write too much. Avoid including minor or explanatory details. You’ll do that later, after it is time to start on a final essay. You should mention only the most relevant points while being concise.

  • Make content generic. Draft is a reflection of your essay, so it must have a clear idea and goal behind it. Don’t hope that professors will accept a rambling mess of random thoughts: outline everything in a specific way.

  • Focus on conclusion. Conclusion isn’t a part writers should refine in their draft. Do not fill it with details about your findings since there is no way of knowing how much more you’ll uncover or which things might prove to be irrelevant.

  • Be afraid to change your ideas. You could decide on exploring something else after crafting your first ideas. It’s not a big deal. Draft is a place for experimentation and creativity. Try one scenario — if you dislike it, think of another one. Your final paper will only look better  as a result.

Posted by Chris M., September 09, 2021

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