As we near midterms, many of us feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of writing we have to do, and sometimes we cope by pretending our work does not exist. But you are not the only writer out there struggling to get motivated, so there are plenty of tools online to help you stop procrastinating.
But first, take a minute and try to identify why you’re procrastinating. If you can figure out why you are pushing off writing, you can probably figure out what you need to do to overcome your struggle.
If you have to write about something you aren’t interested in, try to find some connection to your life or interests. During college, I took a course about molds. Not even joking. Molds. For our big essay, we had to make an argument about something we had discussed in class. Well, I wasn’t going to just talk about molds for 15 pages. Are you kidding? So I thought really hard about how I could connect that to something I enjoy thinking about and ended up writing about mushrooms in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. If you can find something within your topic that relates to your interests, your paper will be much easier to write.
If your writing assignment is a big project that seems intimidating, try breaking the assignment down into smaller pieces. Brainstorm possible topics, do some preliminary research and read until you figure out what you want to argue or write about. Then break down your paper into smaller chunks. What do you want to talk about first? Brainstorm and outline before you even start writing. Once you have an idea what lies ahead, the workload will feel much more manageable.
Finally, if you’re struggling with how to start in the first place, feel free to ask for help. Your professor will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Even a classmate can help you work through possible ideas (and may have questions you can help them with). Or you can come visit your friendly neighborhood writing center at Coleman 3110 and talk things over with a consultant!
But if your main issue is focusing, this list has some great websites that can help you.
Write or Die seems to be a fun one.
Keep Me Out is pretty much your typical procrastination blocker.
Coffitivity helps you if you work best with background noise, like in a coffee shop.
Again, the writing center is always here to help at every step of the way. Feel free to call for an appointment (581.5929) any time from the moment you get your assignment to after you’ve received it back with comments. We can help you break through your procrastination.