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Writing and Editing: Drafting

Develop strategies to help with what is often the most intimidating part of the writing process: getting started.

1,057 enrolled on this course

The hands of a person in a blue shirt writing in a notepad.
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    6 hours

Learn to start the writing process with workable drafts

This four-week course will arm you with the essential skills to help you tackle first drafts with confidence and turn them into effective written communication.

You’ll learn useful techniques to help you get started with your first draft – whether you’re tackling complex legal writing or you’re looking to improve your written communication.

Presented by the University of Michigan, this is the third course in the Good with Words: Writing and Editing series and follows the course on Structure and Organisation.

Gain insights into the cost of perfectionism in writing

The first thing you’ll learn is how perfectionism can sabotage even the best writing efforts. Once you understand this, you’ll take a closer look at the tools you need to get past this potential obstacle.

You’ll also find out all you need to know about the preparation you need to do before you start drafting, and about the principles you need to apply as you write.

See how closely drafting and researching intertwine

As you progress through the course and polish your writing skills, you’ll realise how closely related drafting and researching are.

With this understanding, you’ll see how rewarding and productive it can be to write before you feel completely ready.

Master this critical writing process stage with help from experts in the field

Throughout the course, you’ll be guided by Patrick Barry, author and professor at The University of Michigan. You’ll also receive advice from a diverse set of writers to equip you with the skills to confidently tackle drafting.

What topics will you cover?

During this course, you’ll look at:

  • The fantasy of the uninitiated: the cost of perfectionism
  • The planning fallacy, and ways to make sure you hit your deadlines
  • Writing before you are ready: how drafting and researching intertwine
  • The benefits of naming things, especially when trying to improve writing and editing skills

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Understand and reflect on the cost of perfectionism in writing
  • Conduct a “pre-mortem” before starting a writing draft
  • Identify summaries and scenes
  • Apply the “nothing else” and “need to know” principles

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for law students, lawyers, and anyone else who would like access to high-level training in drafting as part of the written process.

Who will you learn with?

Patrick Barry is an assistant clinical professor and the director of digital academic initiatives at the University of Michigan Law School. He also teaches at the University of Chicago and UCLA.

Who developed the course?

University of Michigan

As the #1 public research university in the United States, U-M has been a leader in research, learning, and teaching for more than 200 years, with 102 Grad programs in the top 10 — U.S. News & World Report (2019).

  • Established

  • Location

    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  • World ranking

    Top 30Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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