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Writing can be a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful when deadlines are involved and your academic success is on the line. Finding ways to de-stress as you write can make your essay or research paper easier to write and allows your words to flow more naturally and easily.
For every paper that you need to write each semester, create a to-do list. Note the steps that you need to take during the process, when it’s due, and when each action item on the list should be ideally completed. Refer back to the list regularly, on Mondays, for instance, to make sure you’re on schedule for completion by the assigned date. This ensures that you don’t end up trying to crunch together 3,000 words in a last-minute ditch to get your paper put together.
Writing about something you have little interest in can be stressful, so do your best to select a topic that you actually like; if it can be fascinating, even better. Writing on something that you have a passion for or that allows you to feel entertained as you research the topic can help you connect more readily with your material and write from a more natural, less stressful angle.
Get the hardest part of your essay/research paper writing out of the way first: research. Determine which sources your professor will accept for the piece, and search for credible materials to use. Go to your student library or use its database to find journal articles, studies, and such to reinforce your paper, and make a running list of resources as you go. Compile your works cited page as you write to avoid the complicated process of digging through your source material later.
As much as your schedule permits, write at the best time for you based on your own preferences. If you feel less stressed writing at night, then do so. If you do your best thinking and information processing during the morning hours, try to write during this time. Avoid writing for long periods of time, since this can cause you to get stressed out and feel less than creative.
Procrastination is a productivity killer. Avoiding writing your paper until the last minute is never a good strategy, although it’s oftentimes employed by students who always seem to have loaded plates with way too much to do to begin with. However, allowing procrastination to become a “thing” as a student can lead to missed deadlines and lowered grades. Perhaps more ominously, it can also spill over into your professional life, leading to serious problems down the road.
Either you prefer to postpone writing essays until almost-due-date or fiddle with your phone, when you should actually be working, it’s never too late to tune into a productive mode. Set a timer for 60 minutes, and vow to write the entire time. No checking in on Facebook or watching a video or two on Youtube. Just write.
While your professor may require you to submit a thesis statement before you even begin writing your essay, if this is not a requirement, keep it for dessert. Deciding on it from the get-go can complicate the writing process. If you wait until you’re finished with your paper, it will make it easier to write your thesis and explain it and the arguments supporting it in the most understandable fashion.
You may want to add some chamomile tea, favorite pumpkin-flavored cupcakes or productivity-boosting tools, if you like. However, now you have go-to guide to peaceful and efficient essay writing. Good luck!