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On the value of drafts

One of the things I have begun to appreciate with time is the value of drafts. I am pretty good at cranking out a first draft of a paper, and then I hate editing and revising it. The editorial process for me is way more painful than the writing process itself. But as I said on Twitter, I feel like we are afraid of drafts. We want things done well on the first round. I will admit that my first few years I got plenty of papers “Accepted with Minor Revisions” which might have hindered my ability to cope with rejection and the need to rewrite multiple drafts.

Drafting stuff gives you the mental space and permission to refine it. Knowing that stuff will always need to be polished also makes you resilient to R&Rs that are very demanding. And drafting goals and To Do lists helps you prioritize the most important ones. This is something I realized in 2018. This 2019, I made a promise to myself to be more willing to write drafts of things (weekly plans, to-do lists, papers, etc.) and then finalize once I’ve considered all the relevant factors. I hope to be able to stay with my resolution!

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