Rough Draft v1.5 & OnlyRoughDrafts.com’s Story:

How Accidentally Releasing an App Can Be a Good Thing

You shouldn’t be reading this… yet. Lucky for me, I accidentally left a box checked on Apple’s app dashboard. That box meant that this update, or draft, of Rough Draft automatically released before Only Rough Drafts was ready.

Be careful with these! I’m probably the only dummy that wouldn’t be😖

I wasn’t ready to write this yet because I didn’t think Only Rough Drafts was ready yet. Truth be told, it probably would have never been ready. As meta as it can get, sometimes it can be good to get things out before they’re ready.

This update was a big one for Rough Draft, and so we were a little nervous about releasing it to the world. With 1.5, we’re launching a small community for only rough drafts, where you can get out drafts before they’re ready.

Do you have any ideas for the verb? “Publish” just didn’t sound right…

When you or another writer “Get it out!” (share a draft) on Only Rough Drafts, you share it with all the strikethroughs. Everyone’s writing on Only Rough Drafts is unedited and imperfect, so there’s no need to be self-conscious that yours is imperfect. We hope it’ll be a comfortable place to share your rough ideas and see if they might stick, or a place to get feedback that will guide you towards writing something that will stick.

The Reason & Numbers Behind Only Rough Drafts

Often late at night, I get a “great idea” that I get out in a rough draft, but then lose confidence when I look at it again in the morning. Sometimes my confidence lasts a little longer, but wanes while I’m editing.

Lots of times I get a “great idea” at night that I lose confidence for in the morning

My confidence issues have made my drafts folder start to overflow. There are many old deteriorating drafts in there that had potential. Now they feel dated. Turns out I’m not the only one, we ran this poll and found there were many struggling with publishing…

Scrolling through my drafts it was easy for me to recognize that none of them had been reviewed or read by any friends. Most of my published posts had at least been ready by a friend. Sharing seemed to help me get over my stage fright. Again, it turned out I’m not alone:

Sometimes friends aren’t available for a quick review. Sometimes it’s easier to share with people who don’t know you in real life. We wanted to make something that helps get you get your draft out to an old or new friend, getting some quick feedback, and gaining momentum to publish on Medium or anywhere you’re headed..

I love sharing drafts on Medium and still will share any draft after my first here. Sharing at any stage helps me get over my own myopia and biased opinions. At times, it’s uncomfortable to share a first draft here, because things look too perfect…

Sharing a rough draft on Only Rough Drafts is easy because it naturally gives the context of where it is in the writing process. Readers naturally gloss over the grammatical mistakes because it’s easy to understand it’s a rough draft.

Only Rough Drafts is there to move you towards getting your drafts out. Sharing your rough drafts before they’re ready, helps get you over any stage-fright of publishing. Only Rough Drafts is here to help you get rid of any self-consciousness and a perceived need to only show others your perfect side.

3 Quick Things to Know About OnlyRoughDrafts.com

  1. When you publish, it’s with strikethroughs and placeholders, adding context for your readers that it’s just a rough draft, without you needing to put a disclaimer at the top. This keeps the focus on your idea, instead of improper, usages, of commas, and grammar… 😉
  2. Comments are only between the author and commenter. This is to keep trolling and de-constructive criticism to a minimum. Just remember, constructive criticism isn’t trolling. It’s definitely easy to overly-sensitive with a rough draft.
  3. Posts auto-lock after 25 people read them. There’s no need to worry about your draft going viral before it’s final. Your first 25 readers will tell you where to focus future writing efforts, finding a proverbial diamond in the rough (draft).

We hope you’ll share your 3 things…

…that you think we need to do in order for us to revise Only Rough Drafts into a final draft.

Sidenote: Admittedly, the experience of setting up a “token” before publishing your first draft is pretty rough at this point. Once you set it up it is very easy to publish, share, or “Get it out!” If you need any help setting it up you can comment here, talk to us on the chat on the site, or tweet us @96_problems 😄

New Accessibility Features

We’re also happy to share a new accessibility feature in the form of a Dyslexic theme and larger font-sizes.

A Dyslexia Theme

We were lucky to have lunch with a writer who uses Rough Draft and mentioned that her father had dyslexia. Her father’s doctor had recommended writing on yellow legal pads. She thought this might be a good addition to Rough Draft. We did a little research and found that blue text against a yellow background makes fonts easier to read for those with dyslexia.

Honestly, this is only a rough draft of what a true dyslexia theme could be. At this point, we don’t know much about dyslexia beyond the result of a few googles. We’d love to learn more about how to make meaningful progress towards improving rough draft for dyslexic writers, and hope that this early attempt will serve as the start of the conversation.

Larger Font Sizes

We also received an email from a writer who has trouble reading small text. We started experimenting with bigger fonts and loved how they looked on a big screen too. It’s by no means a big change, and probably something that should have been in from the start, but now you can enjoy bigger fonts. Whatever your reason, whether you’re doing it for your eyes or to make the most of your big screen!


That’s 1.5 & OnlyRoughDrafts.com!

Tweet us at @96_Problems with any ideas for 1.6, any simple problems you’d like solved (as always!), or any stories that were once rough drafts themselves. Whether or not your draft goes through Only Rough Drafts, we’ll look forward to reading and sharing it too!

Start reading raw, rough drafts on OnlyRoughDrafts.com, and help other writers move one step closer to publishing.
☝️Just click above to go

p.s. We want to thank Sacha Greif for making and open sourcing Telescope, the open source framework that helped us make this rough draft of Only Rough Drafts in a little over a week.

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