7 Steps to Writing your Paper on a Tight Deadline

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Published on December 7, 2014

By this time of the semester, there’s a 99% chance that you’ve Googled “How to stop procrastinating” about a million times.

Of course you’ll never really implement those strategies, not in the near future anyway.

Oh, and remember that eight-page paper from the beginning of the semester? It’s due tomorrow!

This has happened to everyone at least once before. Most people panic, and a few people will keep themselves busy so as to avoid even thinking about the assignment. The truth is you’re not screwed.  You can use the time you have to produce an essay you’re proud of.

The key is NOT stressing out. Anxiety creates writer’s block, and once you block the creative parts of your mind with stress, you’ll never get anything done.

When it happens to me, luckily I keep my cool and get to work. I light some candles, grab a comfy spot in a room where I’m sure nobody will bother me, put my cell phone on silent, and work until I’m all done.

Here are a few tips for writing your paper on a short deadline:

1) Take a stance/develop a thesis. What is it that you want to say about your topic? If you can clearly express the focus of your essay, your work will be concentrated and effective.

2) Once you’ve decided your thesis, take a few minutes to brainstorm. Whom does your topic effect? What are the implications? What are the assumptions? How can you relate this to the world? To the average person? What background information is necessary?

3) Start researching and jotting down points that support your thesis. For a longer paper you’ll need around 12 or 15 of these. Once you’ve gathered points that support, look for ones that disagree with what you’re saying.

4) Keep your sources handy for your Works Cited or Reference page. An easy way to do this, if you’re working online, is to send yourself an email with all of the URL’s.

5) Organize your thoughts. Make a quick outline, using just topic sentences of your paragraphs.

6) Draft your essay. Try to write as clearly as you can, as logically as you can.

7) Take a quick break! Grab a bite to eat, or some coffee. Then go take a second look at your essay. Revise and make all necessary changes.

Congrats! You’ve made it through. It was hard work, but now you’ve got your essay done.

Next semester you’ll start earlier, right?