I’m no expert, and I’m not qualified to give advice extensive advice about writing. I do, however, have experience as an English major and as a tutor at my college’s writing center. After many semesters of writing, revising, and proofreading essays, I have accumulated a few tips (discovered by my own experience or given to me by others) to make writing a little bit easier. I can’t guarantee A+ work or claim expertise because of the list, but it might help you get closer to your writing goals.
- Make an outline. It sounds really easy and obvious, but I went a very long time without outlining my papers. Do it.
- Keep a notes notebook. I keep a notebook strictly for research notes. It helps me keep my research and academic life in line.
- Start early. Start your essays early, don’t put it off. Nothing good ever came out of “the night before.”
- Write down your thesis. With this in mind, you can find materials that can help strengthen your argument.
- Ask for help. I still struggle with this one. I don’t want to be underfoot with my professors, but each time I ask for help, they are more than willing to assist me.
- Prepare for criticism. True story: Early in my college career, a professor took the time to write constructive criticism on one of my essays, and I don’t think I ever looked at it. I don’t know if it was my ego or my feelings were hurt, but I didn’t know how to handle it. Prepare.
- Prepare to re-write. I’ve had to re-write before. It wasn’t pleasant, but I learned about developing a stronger thesis because of it.
- Use your opinion. I’ve told almost all of my friends that I help that if they have an opinion, and can support it using in-text detail, go for it. It’s a good exercise in developing arguments.
- Just do it. Just sit down and write. The worst thing that can happen is that you get finished early, and when everyone else is panicked, you’re not.