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The first draft needs to be fast. The largest risk here is incompletion. The second greatest risk is inordinate expense of time starting, stopping, and restarting. This seems to apply to everything from a memo to a novel.

At least a day should pass between first and second drafts of a work.

The second draft should put every sentence on trial for its life. Not only is it good enough to stay in but, harder, is it salient to the overall message. Spell-checks and grammar checks occur now. The second draft should likely be at least 80% the size of the first. If it isn’t, the first wasn’t robust enough.

The third draft needs to be read out loud. So many rhetorical weakness are exposed in this way. It is a forcing function of your attention.

Now it is ready for a friend to review.

Finish or repeat drafts one to three.

Published inMiscSelf-ImprovementWriting

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