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You know that feeling you get when you have a huge assignment due in a few days and you haven’t started yet? It’s that feeling you get when you’re up against a tight deadline and haven’t started your work yet. You keep thinking about how hard it is, which only makes the whole situation seem worse than what it really is. This is the perfect opportunity for what is called “The Shitty Draft.” 

The Shitty Draft is a technique to get your work done quickly. It may not be the best but it gets you out of procrastinating and into mastery!

What is “The Shitty Draft”?

The idea behind this technique is simple – make an absolutely terrible first draft, one that you know isn’t really your best work. Write whatever comes to your mind regarding the topic and just put it out on paper.

It’s okay if everything seems messy, out-of-place or flat at this point; what matters most are ideas themselves because they will eventually lead us to a better result as we improve it.

The intention isn’t to do the best quality work the first time – it is just to do the work.

Once your work is done, all you need to do is edit it!

As a student, this technique works well for me. Sometimes my first drafts are quite good and sometimes they’re terrible, but the priority of this technique is to get your work done. When the drafts are good, I’m in luck. When they aren’t, I’ll complete it through the procedure anyways. It will never be perfect from the start and you have to improve your work both ways – so why wait?

Why does it work?

As human beings, we are naturally lazy. We often find excuses to not do the things that scare us or take a long time to get done. When something feels easier for you to do, you are more likely to do it.

I have avoided my own assignments just because I feel they’re too difficult.

Moreover, we rarely finish our work in one sitting.

However, if you already have a written piece of content the first time around, when you go back to it you feel like you just need to edit it. You don’t feel like you have to do work and write something extra. It feels like just some finishing up.

It also helps to get your work done quickly, which is what most people want when they’re on a tight deadline (or maybe have just pushed their work to 12 hours until the deadline).

If you have trouble getting started with writing, it may help to use this technique and just go ahead and write the first draft for now. When you come back later, you’ll have something to edit.

When does “The Shitty Draft” work?

It works (almost) always!

I think this technique would work best when you’re feeling lazy or unmotivated, but still want to get your work done! The idea of The Shitty Draft technique is for those who are on deadline or just want work done as quickly as possible in order to avoid the feeling of being stuck, blocked or procrastinating.

Honestly, you can do it anytime you want to get work done. Once, I wrote a 300 word in about 25 excluding the editing. Even with the editing, it did not take more than 40 minutes.

So this technique not only gets you working when you don’t feel like it, but it also gets your work done faster than usual.

When does it not work?

The Shitty Draft is perfect for students and professionals who just want to get assignments and projects done or writers on deadline of short stories and essays because this technique allows them to draft without overthinking their papers.

The main drawback with this technique is that if you have classes which need you to memorize things or solve problems you may not be able to use this technique. 

(That low-key sucks because it rules out people studying science but not writing papers or essays)

Other than you can use it in any situation you want, be it writing essays or finishing your presentations or even writing the script for your speech.

I’d like to thank Josh Chen for introducing this technique, although the concept was originally made up by Anne Lamott.


When you’re on deadline and want to get your work done as quickly as possible to avoid getting lazy or unmotivated, you need to create a shitty first draft and then edit it to make it better.


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