Writing a paper can feel like an impossible task to complete. Throughout my time in college, speaking with my peers and other writers, I've noticed that many writers (myself included) have felt constricted when writing, and feel like there is only one correct way to write an academic paper. However, this is not the case. While aspects of your paper such as the topic, format or assignment requirements are fixed, the content has flexibility. Many writers, however, may have difficulty finding this flexibility and in turn difficulty writing their papers. Therefore, finding tips to engage a writer in the writing process is crucial to promote the free flow of ideas when writing. Like many writers, I have also experienced “writer’s block” and have thought that a paper was too insurmountable a task to overcome and complete. To combat this, the list I’ve included below has a few tips and tricks I recommend for overcoming these obstacles and discovering the autonomy each writer has over their writing.
1. Just do it! By that I mean brainstorm. Brainstorming is a key element to completing any paper, whether it’s a one page summary paper or a ten page research paper. Getting any ideas out on paper, even if they seem ridiculous at the time, will not only help a writer decide what points he or she would like to touch upon, but will also divide your essay into much more manageable goals.
2. What is important to you? If you have the option to, choose a topic that matters to you. You’ll most likely experience more ease when writing the paper and produce some of your best writing due to your investment in the topic. If you can’t choose your topic, remember that you have the autonomy to include the evidence that you feel is the most important or relevant when building your argument.
3. Breathe. Consider taking a break from writing your paper if you’re feeling frustrated or stuck during any stage of the writing process. This break can range anywhere from fifteen minutes to a day or two. Distancing yourself from your paper can be a good thing, helping you clear your head and sort out your ideas and directions your paper can take. Just make sure you don’t forget to come back to your paper.
As the semester comes to a close, remember when drafting your final essays and anything you may write in the future that you are not powerless when writing. The diction, syntax, voice and ideas in a paper are unique to each writer, resulting in a multitude of academic writing styles and papers. There are many ways to write an academic paper and the writer holds the power over the production of it. So set aside your fears and get started, writing will only get easier if you do. Good luck and happy writing!
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