Four Ways to Finish Writing A Paper Fast
How did that deadline creep up so fast? And how the heck are you going to write and pull off a college level paper in the next two days (ahem, make that two hours)? Time to stop procrastinating and start strategizing what you need to write. Put down the red cup, pick up your pen, and follow the five steps below to write your essay from zero to hero in record time. Getting started is half the battle.
Manage your time
The task before you probably feels overwhelming – in fact, that’s exactly why you’ve been putting it off. Don’t panic. Your insurmountable essay project is really just three manageable tasks: 1. Plan. 2. Write. 3. Edit.
Divide whatever time you have into four equal slots. Allocate one slot to planning, a double slot to writing, and one to editing. When each slot is up, walk away from the computer, make a washroom or vending machine trip, and when you return, start the next task. It’s better to have a complete paper with a few weak spots than an eloquent introduction with nothing else.
Plan your paper
First, read the instructions or brief carefully. Next, gather whatever research you’re likely to need. This might require re-visiting some textbook chapters or primary sources, flicking through class notes, searching online for journal articles or dashing to the library. Remember to note the details of your sources every time you draw on them in your paper; you’ll thank yourself when it comes to referencing.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with your sources, it’s time to draft a thesis statement or hypothesis. Almost all academic writing requires that you state one main claim early on in your paper, which you then go on to argue. Write out this claim, bearing in mind that you can adjust it as the paper unfolds.
From here, you can create an outline. Break your thesis statement into a few main points that will be the topic sentences for your body paragraphs. Decide what context you’ll need to give in the introduction, and what closing remarks you’ll make for the conclusion.
Write your draft
Form paragraphs based on your outline. Each paragraph should contain one main idea, and there should be clear links between your paragraphs. Don’t worry too much about the finer details of your writing at this point. Just get your ideas down on paper in some sort of organized way.
Edit and Reference
Re-read your paper (aloud if you can) to make improvements to the structure, style, and grammar.
First, make sure there’s a good overall flow – one idea leads to another logically, and each paragraph provides evidence for your thesis statement. Re-organize paragraphs, sentences and words as necessary.
In terms of style, revise any awkward phrasing, fix wordiness, and improve your word choice where necessary.
Edit for grammar, including spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and subject-verb agreement. If you’re rusty on some areas, refer to a good writing guide or look for online resources such as your university or college’s Writing Centre website.
Finally (the end is in sight!), make sure you’ve included a proper in-text citation each time you’ve drawn on a source. A list of all the sources should be given in a bibliography too, sometimes called “References” or “Works Cited”. Refer to the style guide you’ve been asked to use (e.g. Chicago Manal of Style, American Psychological Association or APA) for specific details.
Still got half-an-hour to spare? Have your mom, roommate or friend read over your paper; a second set of eyes will spot things you didn’t.
Et voila, your paper is done! Hit send or print and head out to celebrate; you’ve earned it!