Article by Denise Nicole Uy / Photos by Hannah Beltran
Almost every student has experienced this: how do you write a paper when writer’s block has got you under lock? You start confidently until you eventually find yourself checking your phone until you’ve convinced yourself you’ll do it tomorrow. Or maybe you tell yourself you’ll just take a short nap before you do your homework but you find yourself asleep till it’s time for school the next day!
We’ve all been there and thank goodness we don’t have to be stuck there forever! Nobody needs that kind of stress in their lives, so here are some tips on how to beat that paper into submission!
1. Get Rid of Distractions
The first step to concentration is to eliminate whatever is distracting you. Right now, there are lots of apps that claim to help you minimize distractions on your phone. But sometimes you won’t even need them. It can be as simple as keeping your phone on the other side of the room and keeping your work area clean! If there’s nothing around you to distract you from the task at hand, the more likely you’ll be able to start working on it.
2. Break It Down
Sometimes it’s hard to start something because it looks so difficult to do! Finishing a 15-page paper overnight or studying nearly an entire term’s worth of notes for an exam the next day sounds horrific. But finishing smaller tasks is way more doable!
To-do lists are your friends. Break down your big projects into smaller, easier to manage tasks. By breaking down a project down, you can do what you have to do and take baby steps towards finishing it. It’s easier to push yourself to finish something when you can clearly see what needs to be done.
3. Try Outlining
If you’re stuck on a paper or you’re having a hard time studying for an exam, make an outline! In your outline, write down all your ideas even if you don’t think you’ll be able to use all of them. Writing down all your ideas helps declutter your mind and will likely lead to more ideas, or at the very least help you get into the groove of writing. Writing down what you need to study also helps you ground yourself!
4. Use Your Resources
Learn to research and learn to research well. Make sure to check out your school’s library. Part of your tuition goes to funding the library, and it would be a waste if you don’t maximize its resources during your studies. Most schools pay a lot of money to gain access to online journals, and sometimes Google isn’t going to cut it when you’re looking for material to reference for your paper. If you don’t already know how to access the offline library, ask your friendly librarian to help you out!
These are just tips to help you, but in the end only you can figure out what routine works for best for you. The great thing about a routine is how you can personalize it for your needs. Now get to work and happy writing!