Here are some simple ways to change your writing process. Pick a few and try them.
- Read the assignment prompt, then quickly write down 5 things you’ll need to do to be successful in the assignment. Using this list and the assignment prompt, create a timeline for finishing the assignment. For example, if you’re being graded on using primary and secondary research, you’ll want to make time to research, analyze your sources and add your citations.
- Go for a walk (or do some exercise) and think about your writing task. Sometimes moving your body helps you do brainstorming.
- Create an outline for your work.
- Use brainstorming (mind mapping, bubble maps, etc).
- Try illustrating your project visually. Connect ideas and thoughts with lines.
- Read a similar document to get ideas.
- Talk about your writing task with a friend.
- Represent your writing task visually. Sometimes creating a comic strip or series of doodles helps you to figure out where to start.
- Turn off the screen of your computer and try writing your document. This will help you get your thoughts down without worrying about editing.
- Use the voice recorder in your phone to record yourself describing what you want to write about as if to a friend.
- Write an imaginary conversation between your sources. How would they respond to each other?
- Try free-writing. Write the phrase “What I want my reader to know is…” or “The most surprising thing about my research is…” Then, set a timer for 5 minutes and write about this topic. Don’t stop writing. Ignore all grammar and spelling errors. See how much you can write.
- Schedule a time each day to write and put it in your calendar.
- Try to Pomodoro Technique, where you work intensely for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break.
- Use website blocking software like Freedom, FocusBooster or StayFocusd to block your internet use for a few hours so you can concentrate.
- Read your work out loud. The ear is a better editor than the eye.
- Leave your work overnight so that you can come back to it with fresh eyes.
- Describe your work to a trusted friend or family member and encourage them to ask you questions.
- Compare your work to the assignment prompt or rubric. Read a criteria/rubric point then go to your work and underline where in the work you met the criteria.
- Print your work out and cut it up so that each paragraph is on its own piece of paper. Try reorganizing your paragraphs. Does another order work better?
- If your writing uses sources, print your work out and highlight every time you use a source. If your writing has no highlighted parts, you might want to add sources. If your writing is mostly highlighted, you might want to do more analysis of the sources.
- Underline the main point of each paragraph. If you can’t point out what the point of the paragraph is, you may need to rethink it. If your paragraph has multiple points, you may need to break it up.
- Show your work to your teacher, a colleague or friend and ask them what they think the goal of the assignment is.