top of page

Fast Drafting: Getting Ideas Down Quickly

How long do your students spend writing their draft when they are working on a writing project?

For most students, writing a draft usually encompasses about 90% of the time they spend on a project.

They spend days and days composing a draft, leaving little energy or enthusiasm for editing and revising.

It is no wonder, then, that rough drafts stay just that — rough. Revisions, if any, are weak and editing is almost as bad. When they publish, it is often just a rewrite of the draft, mistakes and all -- only neater.

Does this sound familiar?

Janet Angelillo, author of Making Revision Matter (Scholastic, 2005) suggests that a simple mind shift change can solve this problem. Angelillo writes that we need to think about how we teach students to structure their time when working on a project. She suggests that students should be taught to draft for one to two days only, then spend five days working on revisions.

Think about that — one to two days drafting for every five revision days.

What does that tell students (and us teachers!) about where writers should spend most of their time and energy when working on a project?

So how do we teach this time management shift to our students? Fast drafting is a good technique to teach.

Through fast drafting, students get their ideas out of their mind and down onto paper quickly. The purpose is to do this quickly so there is plenty of time, energy and interest for revision.

Ready to teach your students to fast draft? Here are a few ways to get started: