ChatGPT Teaches Writing: Writing the First Draft with ChatGPT's Help

A Course on Using AI to Write — LESSON 4

Teodora Pirciu
8 min readFeb 9, 2023

ICYMI: LESSON 1 — Introduction to ChatGPT and Its Writing Capabilities

LESSON 2 — Determining the Purpose and Audience for Your Writing

LESSON 3 — Generating Ideas and Outlines for Your Writing

Write your first draft quickly and confidently

Welcome to today's lesson on using ChatGPT to write your first draft! Today's lesson will show you how to harness the power of ChatGPT, a cutting-edge language model developed by OpenAI, to write your first draft quickly and confidently.

Let's get started! You'll learn how to generate a first draft in minutes and make your writing shine with editing techniques. So forget about writer's block and get ready to revolutionize your writing process.

Writing a prompt

The more specific you can be, the better

Write a text prompt stating the topic you want ChatGPT to generate text about. The more specific you can be, the better. For example, instead of writing "Write a blog post about technology," try writing "Write a blog post about the impact of AI on the job market."

To write a prompt that will enable ChatGPT to provide a first draft for a blog post, it's essential to keep a few things in mind:

💡 Include the target audience and purpose of the draft in the writing prompt. This information will help ChatGPT understand the tone and style of the piece and what you want to achieve with your writing. By providing this information upfront, you'll be able to ensure that ChatGPT generates a draft that is tailored to your specific needs and goals.

💡 Your writing prompt should have a specific goal in mind, whether describing a new product, analyzing a current issue, or offering a personal perspective on a particular topic.

💡 Give ChatGPT a brief overview of the context surrounding the topic. For example, you might mention recent developments or current events related to the topic.

💡 Specify the tone and style you want the blog post to have. For example, if you want a serious, informative tone, let ChatGPT know. If you prefer a more conversational or humorous tone, specify that too. Provide as many relevant details as possible, such as the length and format of the piece you want ChatGPT to write.

💡 If there is any background information that ChatGPT should know to generate the first draft, include it in the prompt. For example, if you want to write a blog post about a specific product, include details about it and what sets it apart from similar products.

💡 If you have any specific ideas or suggestions for the first draft, include them in the prompt. For example, you might suggest specific points to cover, quotes to include, or statistics to highlight.

💡 Use actionable language. Prompts that use concrete, specific language are much more effective than abstract, general ones. Rather than asking ChatGPT to "write about the benefits of meditation," ask it to "write a 500-word blog post about the specific benefits of mindfulness meditation for reducing stress and improving focus."

By trying different approaches and seeing how ChatGPT responds, you'll better understand what works best for you and how you can use ChatGPT to your advantage.

Here's an example of a well-written prompt for a blog post

Providing Data to ChatGPT

You can provide a wide variety of data to ChatGPT. Some examples include:

  1. Statistical data. ChatGPT can incorporate numerical data into a draft in various formats, such as tables, graphs, or written descriptions. For example, if you have data on the growth of a particular industry or the market share of a specific company, ChatGPT can use that information to add depth and context to your writing.
  2. Quotes. If you have relevant quotes from experts or industry leaders, ChatGPT can include them in the draft to provide additional perspective and credibility.
  3. Historical data. If you have data on the history of a particular topic, ChatGPT can use that information to provide context and background.
  4. Case studies. ChatGPT can use that information to illustrate your points and make your writing more concrete and relatable if you have data on specific examples or case studies.
  5. Surveys and polls. If you have survey or poll data, ChatGPT can use that information to support your arguments and provide a more comprehensive view of the topic.
  6. Financial data. If you have financial data, such as stock prices, revenue numbers, or budgets, ChatGPT can incorporate that information to provide a complete picture of a topic.

When providing data to ChatGPT, it's best to use formats that are easy to understand and simple to process. Some recommended formats include:

  • Plain text — If the data is simple and consists of only a few items, you can provide it as plain text in a list or table format.
  • Spreadsheets — A spreadsheet can be helpful if the data is more complex and involves multiple variables. Popular spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, can organize and structure the data.
  • CSV files — A CSV (Comma-Separated Values) file is a plain-text file format that can store and exchange data. This format is handy if you want to provide large amounts of data or data that other tools will process.
  • JSON — JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a lightweight data-interchange format often used to exchange data between systems. If you have data stored in a JSON format, it can be easily provided to ChatGPT for generating a draft.
  • Graphs and charts — Popular tools, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, can be used to create these visualizations.

To upload a file for generating a draft with ChatGPT, you’ll need to use an API that supports file input and integration with OpenAI’s models, such as the OpenAI API. To use OpenAI’s models, including ChatGPT, you’ll need to sign up for an API key. This key will give you access to OpenAI’s models and allow you to make requests to the API.

Depending on the API you’re using, you may be able to upload the file directly, or you may need to use a tool or library to convert the file into a format that can be sent to the API. Once the file is uploaded, you’ll need to make a request to the API to use ChatGPT. This request should include the text prompt that you want ChatGPT to respond to and any additional parameters or data you want to include.

It’s important to remember that the specifics of uploading a file will depend on the API you’re using. Be sure to consult the API documentation for detailed instructions on uploading a file and making requests to the API.

You don't need to know how to code to provide data in a format that ChatGPT can understand and use. Here are some tips for providing data to ChatGPT if you don't know how to code:

💡 Use plain text. You can provide data in a simple, plain text format by listing the data items one after the other in the prompt. For example: "I need a draft that includes the following information: apples, bananas, oranges, grapes."

💡 Use tables. If your data is best organized in a table format, you can create a table using a simple text editor like Notepad or TextEdit. Simply separate the data items with a tab or a comma, and include a line break between each row of data.

💡 Use key-value pairs. If your data consists of key-value pairs, you can provide it in the prompt in a key-value format. For example: "I need a draft that includes the following information: name: John Doe, age: 32, city: San Francisco."

Practice exercises to help you experiment with writing drafts with ChatGPT
  • Try writing a draft with ChatGPT, where you alternate between short and long sentences. Start with a short sentence, follow it with a longer one, and so on. This will help you explore different writing styles and see how ChatGPT responds to different types of sentences.
Prompt example
  • Try writing a draft with ChatGPT where you use specific vocabulary related to a particular topic. For example, include as many culinary terms as possible if you're writing about cooking. This will help you explore how ChatGPT uses specific vocabulary to generate a draft.
Prompt example
  • Try writing a draft with ChatGPT from different perspectives, such as the first person, second person, and third person. This will help you see how ChatGPT responds to different points of view and allows you to experiment with different writing styles.
  • Try writing a draft with ChatGPT that emulates a particular writing style, such as formal or informal. You can also mimic the writing style of a specific author or genre, such as mystery or romance. This will help you see how ChatGPT can adapt to different writing styles and help you find your own writing voice.
  • Try writing a draft with ChatGPT that combines different writing styles and techniques. This will help you see how ChatGPT can handle multiple styles and techniques and help you find your own unique writing style. For example, you could simultaneously use short and long sentences, specific vocabulary, and writing from different perspectives.

Reviewing and revising the draft

Go through the draft carefully, making any necessary revisions and adjustments to improve its structure, content, and style

The process of writing and revising a draft can be time-consuming. Still, it is well worth the effort to ensure that the final product is high quality. It's important to go through the draft carefully, making any necessary revisions and adjustments to improve its structure, content, and style.

Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Start by reading the entire draft carefully to get a sense of its overall flow and content.
  2. Verify that the information in the draft is accurate and that the sources cited are trustworthy.
  3. Ensure that the draft has a clear structure with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Consider if any sections could be added or removed to improve the overall flow of the piece.
  4. Look for grammar and spelling errors and fix them. Also, check for consistency in style, tone, and voice.
  5. Consider if any sections need to be expanded or contracted, and make any necessary revisions.
  6. Repeat these steps as necessary until you are satisfied with the draft.

As you continue to work with ChatGPT, remember to experiment with different writing styles and techniques. The more you practice, the better you'll become at using ChatGPT to write compelling and persuasive pieces.

But the journey doesn't end here. There's still more to learn, especially when it comes to fine-tuning your writing and making it the best it can be. In tomorrow's lesson, we'll dive deeper into proofreading and editing and show you how you can use ChatGPT to help with this critical stage of the writing process.

So, join us tomorrow as we continue to explore the exciting world of AI-powered writing!



Teodora Pirciu

Writer, mother, journalist, content marketer, day-dreamer, chocolate lover, freelancer. Not necessarily in this order.