Thursday, September 27, 2012
Do you have writer’s block? It's ok. Everyone gets stuck. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxiety, frustration, indifference, irritation, or confusion when writing a paper. So how do we get over these roadblocks of negativity in order to get anything accomplished? What I recommend is taking it slow. Often times we are in such a rush to get a paper finished that we want everything to be perfect immediately. However, it’s easier said than done.
I used to always get worked up over finishing a paper, but then one day I realized that it wasn’t worth it to stress myself out. Last week while tutoring another student I figured out the simplest solution. Whether you’re writing a narrative paper about your own experiences or an academic paper that requires quotes from at least three sources, you’ll feel much better if you follow this list of simple suggestions:
1) Give yourself plenty of time to write your paper.
Never try and put it together at the last minute. Rushed writing leads to careless mistakes.
2) Don’t worry about writing your introduction right then and there.
Go back and write it after you figure out the rest of the paper.
3) Create a list of bullet points that quickly summarize your main ideas beforehand.
4) Don’t worry about exactly what you’re trying to say… yet. Just start writing!
Get it all out there and just go with it. Type out everything you are thinking. Don’t worry about how to organize your thoughts right now.
5) Take a break. Maybe you should wait until tomorrow.
No, don’t feel guilty for watching tv or hanging out on Facebook. You deserve a breather.
6) Now that you have fresh eyes for writing, read your paper aloud to yourself.
Does it sound repetitive? Too detailed? Not detailed enough? Will it make sense to your reader? What needs to be eliminated or added? Where should the next paragraph start?
7) After organizing your thoughts, you’re ready to write your introduction and conclusion.
8) Take another break.
It’s ok. Walk away.
9) Read the finished draft and see if it all makes sense.
Go back and make final revisions.
Now you’re done! No pressure and less stress! You took your time, you worked on your paper in small steps, and as a result you’re feeling more confident in your own writing abilities. Try this method and stop by the RU Writing Center to let us know how it worked out for you.
RU Graduate Student and Writing Center Tutor