September 23, 2012
My own summarization of, “Writing Drafts”, By Richard Marius
This article is about Richard Marius and the processes he uses in his own writings. He expresses the importance of starting with just a list, committing yourself completely to the project at hand, writing numerous rough drafts, and many other guidelines that can contribute to the process of effective writing.
A simple list is the first step to writing the first draft of anything. In the past, I was always told that writing a completely specific and organized outline was the correct way of starting a writing assignment. My last English teacher even made us turn our outlines in with our essays. According to the article, a list is just as good if not better than an outline because it allows for the flow of creativity without causing all the stress of writing a structured outline. The list does not have to be in any specific order, just notes that are of significance to the topic. The list can be organized later after all the facts have been gathered because as Marius states, “writers often start an essay with one topic in mind only to discover that another pushes the first one aside as they work.” (paragraph 3) He also says that if this happens, “be grateful and accept it”. I took it to mean that some writers have a hard time coming up with anything to write at all, so if I am lucky enough to be coming up with ideas for one topic and I suddenly start thinking about a whole new and even better topic, I should take the opportunity and run with it. This is also one of the reasons for writing several rough drafts of the composition. Marius stresses the importance of rough drafts. He pointed out that it is possible to print the first draft, if done on a computer, and cut up into pieces so they can be pasted into different sections, where they work better, or thrown away completely. Although, if I am on a computer, then I can just use the cut and paste controls to move anything where I want it without having to print or physically cut anything. Then once the first draft is done, take it to somewhere other than the regular workspace and sit down to read it all through without trying to fix any of it. Marius says, “If possible, read your rough draft just before you go to sleep. Many psychological tests have shown that our minds organize and create while we sleep if we pack them full before bedtime.” (paragraph 5) I had never heard of these studies before reading this article, but it definitely makes sense and I plan to give it a try on my next writing assignment. On the subject of writing rough drafts though, my previous teachers have almost all drilled it into my head that you must write at least two to three rough drafts. If you do not write at least one rough draft and then rewrite it as a final draft, but you only write one draft period, then in a sense, you are just turning in what should be the rough draft. Then you end up with a grade on the paper that is just that, rough.
In the article, Richard Marius said that he actually wrote four drafts of his book. I thought about what he said about finding it helpful to completely retype the final draft instead of just editing it on the computer screen and I think that it is a very good idea. By, “letting all the words run through my mind and fingers one more time”, I can, initially proofread at the same time as I am generating my final draft. (Marius paragraph 12) If a sentence or a word does not seem quite right to me, that would probably be the best time to catch it and fix it, while I am still concentrating on that specific section of the paper as opposed to when I am done.
I found it very insightful that he admitted that while, this is his way of doing it and it is one of the best ways, it still might not be the right way for me or someone else. He gives several examples of other writers he knows that have extremely different writing processes. He tells of a...