Then I got a job. I prided myself on being fast, getting drafts out in record time, knowing that my supervisor would change anything he or she didn't like. And the drafts always came back with corrections. Lots of corrections. I hate being corrected, so I began spending more and more time on my drafts. I still wrote fast, but instead of sending it out right away, I reviewed my own draft over and over again, massaging a phrase here or there, selecting words carefully. Soon, the revisions lessened, and I learned a valuable lesson about rough drafts. They don't exist outside of the classroom.
Because in the work world, your drafts should never be rough. I'm going to be blunt—when I see work, no matter what stage it's in, with typos, mistakes, or missing information, I question the worker's ability to do their job. If you don't care enough to fix typos on a draft, then why should I care enough to fix your typos? On the flip side, I expect others to react to my typos and mistakes the same way, and therefore do everything in my power to make sure my draft is as polished as possible.
So what should a draft be?
- A draft should not be incomplete. If you're showing your part of a joint project, sure you can leave space where the other person's work will go, but a draft that includes holes to plug more of your work in doesn't read as a draft at all. It reads as incomplete work.
- A draft should never have typos, incomplete sentences, or bad grammar and sentence structure. Heck, nothing you show anyone else should, especially not in the age of spellcheck.
- A draft should be a finished product. If the reviewer didn't have any comments, is it ready to go as is? If you answered no, then your draft is not ready to be reviewed.
Drafts are an essential part of the work process, but presenting good work from the get-go makes things go much smoother.
How do you make the draft and review process go smoother?