If you are or have ever been a student, you know how difficult it is to come up with a nice essay, not to mention a perfect one. Over my years at college I tried different techniques, ordered custom papers to use for referencing and attended essay writing classes. Everything was in vain until I developed my own strategy to do it. Here I would like to share it with you.
The secret of writing a nice essay is having a positive attitude towards it. Rather than seeing it as a drag, turn it into a simple obstacle to overcome. You can do it. You know you can. It is just another hurdle on your way to finish. There will be others, but right now you have to jump over this one with all the grace and lightness you can master.
Once you feel that dread is getting out of your head, you can actually start working. If you have a topic assigned, skip this paragraph. If not, do your best to find a satisfactory one. By ‘satisfactory’ I mean the one to engage you and simplify the process for you. Neither too broad, nor too narrow, neither old, not creative on the verge of bizarre. Give it your best and do not regret the time spent, as it will pay you back later.
Make a schedule. I am not talking about a huge sheet of paper to hang above your bed, but rather a small table in your notebook. It is easier to get yourself down to work, if there is a limited number of things to do – rather than ‘work on my essay’ you simply ‘look for sources’ one day, ‘make an outline’ another day, then ‘write the first draft’ and so on. Dividing the work in parts helps you avoid stress and make sure your deadline will be met.
Find a place to work. No, ‘just somewhere’ won’t do. You need a place where you will be comfortable enough and free from distractions. It will become a part of your work ritual, whatever it is for you. Sitting where it is comfortable, wearing glasses, drinking orange juice, listening to lounge music – I’ve seen people doing different things to concentrate, the only common thing was, it helped them work efficiently. Also, define the time of the day when it is best for you to work.
One of the greatest skills I acquired at college is putting myself into a resourceful state. It is some kind of inspiration, but the one guided by your brain. In other words, after the seizure of inspiration you might stare in disbelief at what you have created and be ashamed of showing it to somebody. While after a few hours in a resourceful state you will come up with a perfectly fine product that will not disappoint you the next day.
Reaching this state is quite easy – instead of trying to find the right words from the very beginning, you might need to write random things for half an hour. As soon as you feel that words started flowing without any hindrance and extra effort, use it for your paper.
In the process, do not forget to make breaks and look at your work with a fresh eye. The longer your break is, the better. Peer revision is a very powerful tool too, as another person will most likely notice the flaws you missed.
Last but not least, try to enjoy the process. You cannot avoid it, so it is better to gain the most of it. And treating it as a valuable experience, rather than a burden, will take a lot of pressure off your shoulders.