April 25, 2018 - Michael Salinger

Never Write a Rough Draft Again!

Why you should never write a rough draft.


Here a student labels their piece Version 1

Well, first off, we believe that draft should be a verb in the writing classroom not a goal. Plus, there only seems to be two draft statuses – rough and final. We prefer to use the term Version – and title everything we begin working on Version One. Using the term Version sets us free to have as many Versions as needed.

To get from one Version to the next – one merely has to improve whatever they are working on. Version Three may become Version Four because we added a descriptive phrase – or found a typo and corrected it – it does not require a complete rewrite to advance forward. Progressing through the Versions also acknowledges and records the work that has been done.


You can see that our co-created piece has progressed to Version 5. And we are still revising!

In our world of writing there is no such thing as a final draft – there is only the latest Version. We also like to preserve the Versions if possible; they can become a touchstone later for longer or multiple works that evolve from the initial text created. A plus to starting with Version 1 is that the number of versions that may follow is infinite.

When students are writing on a device such as a Chromebook, laptop, or tablet, we encourage them to copy/paste Version 1 and then work to create Version 2, preserving the first Version in case they need to go back and retrieve all or part of it.

No draft is final; it is merely the latest version.


Version 1.0 – probably a gamer.

Walt Whitman revised his seminal book of poems, Leaves of Grass, repeatedly, even after publication. We figure, if that strategy was good enough for Walt, it’s good enough for us.

So – don’t waste your time writing a Rough Draft when you can be creating an infinitely upgradable Version One!


Leave a Reply



“Sara and Michael bring infectious energy and joy leavened with deep knowledge of best practices in literacy to their work with children and teachers.” Ellin Keene – Author of Mosaic of Thought and The Teacher You Want to Be
“Sara and Michael bring magic, and a contagious love of words to both students and teachers alike!” Georgia Heard - Author of Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School More testimonials...