7 Ways to Jump-start Your Work with a Rough Draft

Rough Draft

You can’t seem to get that project started.

It’s been sitting there.

Maybe you are telling yourself that you’re not ready. Or that your idea isn’t good enough yet. Or you’re missing the needed resources.

Those are all excuses.

To jump-start your work, sit down and start your rough draft.

A Rough Start is Better Than No Start

Starting is always the hardest part.

And here are two hard truths:

“You are never quite ready. And there is never a perfect time.”

Yet, you have to start somewhere.

When you find yourself stuck or just unable to get your project underway, start with a rough draft.

It can be a rough idea. It can be a pencil sketch. It can be a brainstorming session.

Any small step to get the work in motion and build momentum.

Here are 7 Ways to Jump-start Your Work with a Rough Draft:

  1. Set a Timer – You might say that you can’t force creativity. However, you can force yourself to sit in a chair and spend a specific amount of time on your work. Set a timer for 10, 20, or 30 minutes. Staring at a blank slate for that long, you can’t help but put some thoughts down.
  2. Gather Your Supplies and Open Your Apps – Get those pens and pencils ready. Get out your favorite notebook. When you get the tools ready, you can’t help but start tinkering. I open my favorite writing or brainstorming app and eventually the words will start flowing.
  3. Write About Your Work – If you don’t know where to begin, try describing your project. In other words, if you can’t seem to work on the project, write about it. By defining the work, you will quickly get sense of the required tasks and where you can start.
  4. Break Off a Small Piece – Big projects can be daunting to begin because of their size. Break off a small task that you can work on immediately. By working on even a very small part of the work, you can build momentum and progress for the project as a whole.
  5. Let the Ideas Flow – Don’t censor your ideas when you are starting a new project. You will find that even initially crazy ideas turn out to be the right solution. Let the ideas flow and capture them all!
  6. Get Creative with the Medium – Try starting the project in different medium or form. If it is a report, try starting it as a list. Soon you will have created an outline. I once had a computer science teacher, who made students start their designs with colored paper and felt. Why? Because it got them designing. It got them started generating ideas.
  7. Throw Things at the Wall – White boards and Post-It notes don’t lend themselves to note taking. However, they are a good physical method to get ideas flowing.  At one recent brainstorming session ended with over 100 post-its on the wall. That’s a lot of ideas and a great start!

Drafts Are Meant to Be Rough

Drafts are called rough for a reason.

They don’t have to be pretty. They don’t have to be detailed.

Your draft just needs to be a start.

You can, and will, make it better as you go.

Question: What rough draft do you need to start today?

9 thoughts on “7 Ways to Jump-start Your Work with a Rough Draft

  1. These are great tips! Often when I start writing a blog or any other article, I will begin by throwing all of the ideas I have on paper. It starts completely unorganized and unformatted. Then over time I develop, categorize and add more content. The end result is a polished and well organized piece, but it all starts with a rough draft.

      1. I agree, Kosio. It surprises me every time to see the end product! Sometimes you just have to start on a project, no matter how unorganized your thoughts are. Then watch it come together over time.

  2. Writers often talk about the dirty first draft that no one else sees. With a draft it’s about getting going and not being perfect. What’s it matter if you’re not going to show it until the second draft?

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