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A Procrastinator’s Guide to Essay Writing

Take a few deep breaths, we’re going to get through this!

Alison Graham

January 06, 2015

A Procrastinator’s Guide to Essay Writing
You did it again. You procrastinated. You watched sixteen episodes of “The Office” instead of writing that 15-page research paper.

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I really can’t believe you. Actually I can, and I know what it’s like. Most of us do. I’ve put off papers and articles before and I’ve had to pump them out in as little as a few hours. As a student-journalist, I am constantly writing under tight deadlines that force me to write and edit very quickly.

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After a lot of practice, I can say with confidence that I’m pretty good at writing papers in a time crunch. But enough with the blabbing because you need help and you need it fast. Here are a few tips that I think could help you get through it all:

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1. Chill out

You don’t want to go into this process freaking out. However, a little stress can be good and motivating for you.
There’s no more putting it off and you have to get it done now, whether you like it or not. So, take a few deep breaths, we’re going to get through this.

2. Know what you’re going to say

Let’s make sure that you have some major points outlined. Reread the rubric and prompt of your essay and create a brief outline. This may seem like it takes more time than its worth, but it will keep you on task and help to make sure that you aren’t going off topic as you’re writing. And, let me tell you, that will save you some time in editing. This outline can be as simple as one-word bullet points. I usually write mine on a post-it note and put it somewhere that I can see as I’m writing the paper. This essay outline writing guide may be able to help if you're confused and I sound like I'm speaking jibberish. That way, I can refer to it as I go and I don’t get lost.

3. Research is key

You haven’t even done the research? Well, go to Wikipedia relating to your topic and scroll to the bottom where they list their sources. A lot of times this can lead you to some pretty good, legit websites that can help you find quality research in a short time. I would also suggest citing your resources as you go. That way, when you are finished with the paper, you don’t have to go back through it and try to find where to cite. If you cite as you go, you’re also much less likely to plagiarize.

4. Do not forget to edit

Grammar mistakes are the easiest ways to lose points, but also some of the easiest to catch. Make sure you are at least reading through your essay to see if there are any glaring errors, or if some of your main points got muddled in your rush to write. A pro tip is to copy and paste your essay into an online translator and have the robot read it back to you. You’ll immediately be able to notice anything that sounds funny. Good luck on your essay! I’m sure you’ll be fine and get everything done. Next time, don’t start a new Netflix series – we all know it leads to binge-watching.

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