I’m always looking for new writing tools. Recently, I was introduced to Rough Draft. This is an app for Macs and iOS devices. You can try it for free.
Train Yourself to Draft Productively
The purpose of the app, as the name suggests, is to help writers draft. I’m attracted to Rough Draft because of its philosophy. Good drafting focuses on the creation of text—that’s all. When writers do a mediocre job drafting, it’s usually because they slip into revision or editing. This is a mistake. Slipping into a different mode squanders time and energy.
Rough draft keeps writers in the drafting mode. It does this by training the writer not to make changes. If the writer attempts to go back and alter text, the app puts uses a strikethrough instead. Hitting the backspace key simply extends the strikethrough. (The exception is typos. You have a couple of seconds to correct typos without the strikethrough dynamic.)
My Experience with Rough Draft
At first, writing with the app is disorienting. Most of us have spent years fixing mistakes as we type. I was a little peeved when the app wouldn’t let me change a few words. Still, I knew why it was happening. The app was doing exactly what it was meant to do. It was pushing me away from the bad habit of correcting as I went. It was reinforcing the skill of dedicated drafting. The longer I worked with the app, the more inclined I became to focus on the next word instead of the one I’d just typed.
The picture shows a sample of me typing and altering some text. You can see the strikethrough where I tried to change some words. What you can’t see are a couple of typos that I immediately fixed. As I mentioned above, the app will let you change the typos without altering text.
I admire what the developers accomplished with Rough Draft. Many writers know how important it is to stay in the right frame of mind when drafting, but still struggle to do it. This app can train you to stay focused. If you haven’t developed this skill, I highly recommend doing so. It’s one of the most valuable techniques I’ve learned.
The app also lets users set target word counts, use writing prompts, or change the appearance of the text.