When I taught writing, I always had my students to a rough draft before the actual paper. A rough draft should include a clear direction in your paper. When you are required to submit a rough draft, it doesn’t need to be perfect, but it should be complete. That means, you shouldn’t be missing any of the major parts of the paper.
You should begin with a draft. Write a draft and then walk away and return again. Your second and third draft will probably be better.
When I wrote my recent poetry collection, Touch My Head Softly (Finishing Line Press, 2021,) I didn’t have a draft. The poems came slowly through the years. If I did have the rough draft of what I wanted the collection to look like, it would have gone much more quickly. It was five years in the making.
If it were fiction, if it did not lacerate the heart to know the truth behind it, Lanette Sweeney’s poetry memoir about losing a child to drugs would only be tragically beautiful. As it is, it is devastating, featuring poetry by her lost son Kyle [Fisher-Hertz] along with her own. Speaking the unspeakable for her own peace, and for the understanding of the rest of us, is Sweeney’s mission. The only thing better than reading these tender, elegiac, broken words would be for her to never have needed to write them.
–Jacquelyn Mitchard, author, The Deep End of the Ocean and 18 other novels.