Essays and Papers Can Be Written in No Time
For the average student, nothing is more intimidating and time consuming than an essay or paper assignment. Writing-based assignments are so open ended and are graded in such a subjective and thorough fashion that writing an A-plus paper requires a great deal of planning and time for most writers to complete. However, this does not have to be the case. If you are currently bogged down with a tricky essay assignment or a lengthier paper, you can maximize your efficiency and finish the work in half your usual time. Here’s how.
Silence Your Inner Editor When Writing the First Draft
Many students write at a far lower speed than they are truly capable of, simply because they spend too much time doubting themselves, deleting phrases, and editing while they write. This is very time consuming and unlikely to be successful. You cannot properly edit your papers until you have a sense of how the full final product will look, so don’t waste your time and nerves editing while you write.
Instead, try to write a “zero draft” as quickly as possible. Time yourself and engage in a half hour or hourlong “word sprint” where you try to commit as many words to the page as possible. You may not keep all these words in your final draft, but you’ll have a large body of words to work with, which is better than what you would have otherwise.
Sleep on It
Another mistake that many students make is spending long, tiring chunks of time composing their essays. The truth is, most people cannot focus on a task as demanding as writing for more than two or three hours at a time. Any time you devote to your essay past that window is just going to create frustration, make you tired, and waste your efforts. Rather than pulling an inefficient all-nighter, work in small two hour chunks, with intermittent breaks. You will feel more relaxed and efficient, and when you do write, you’ll have a clearer head.
Find a Beta Reader
If you have time, take a long break from looking at your paper after you have completed the final draft. It is unwise to edit your paper shortly after you have finished it; you will miss many errors that way, and won’t be able to take the persecutive of another reader. If you’re in a time crunch, however, you can speed up the editing process by switching papers with a peer or mentor. An extra set of eyes will help you detect typos and grammatical errors, point out flaws in your reasoning, and help you reword troubling sections. It’s much faster than waiting and editing on your own later, as well!