In proper procrastination style, I figured I’d write down how I usually tackle essay-writing with a shorter deadline. Because, you know, there’s nothing else I should be writing, right? This week I am doing a ten-day exam, with two essays due in seven days from now.
This is how I map it out:
1. Read the task and freak out. Eat some chocolate/drink some wine/go for a run, whatever helps your nerves.
2. Make an essay plan. Duh. I mean, I should do that every time, but my essay plans are usually a work in progress, but I try when I have a deadline at least.
3. Work out which days you’ll be able to get the most done – and figure out when you most likely will get nothing done at all. I know I have rehearsal Wednesday night, so that’s a write-off, and Sunday is the same most of the day. Saturday I am going to see a show, but night-time will be okay. Monday, the day it is due, I am fully packed, with a catch-up with friends during the day, then rehearsal (and a very important one!) at night, so I am planning to finalise everything the day before.
4. Plan to be half finished halfway anyway. For me, that means I must have 900 words by Wednesday night. Considering what I said earlier, I must get it done today and tomorrow. Crap.
5. Figure out how many words you need to write each day to be finished, but leave the last day out of the equation, because that’s editing day, and the first day, use it for research instead. For me, that was 250-ish words per day.
6. Figure out your reward. Some like to watch trashy tv, have a bowl of ice-cream, go for a drive/walk/run, watch cat videos on youtube or eat some snacky snacks. Set a reward for your task.
7. Split your daily goal up into smaller bits, and put your reward in between. Repeat until you’re done for the day, or more:)
8. When you start writing, only write until your idea is out of your head, then have a break. Don’t try to squeeze to much out at once unless it’s there – it will only cause frustration, so move on to the next idea.
9. Keep re-reading the question and what you have so far. It will help keep you on task.
10. There’s no shame in resting a little. If I am pulling an all-nighter, and I feel like I am falling asleep, I position myself on the couch, half sitting, with my phone alarm on really loud, and allow myself a twenty minute nap. Much better than the slow death with no rest.
11. Ask for help! If you feel defeated, ask if someone can read your essay for you, or help listening to you thesis and point of view. See a librarian to get some suggestions for resources. I know I won’t do this myself, but maybe I will in the future when I will actually have a chance to go to the library lol.
12. You’ll be fine. Just stop writing a blog post about it. Just. Write.