We hear it all the time: writing a paper is hard. Students dread it, and understandably so. How do you come up with your topic, and how do you find ways to support your argument? There’s no easy answer.
Instead, feeling like you have an impossible task, you procrastinate until the last minute, where you desperately try to whip up something. We’ve all been there.
At Quillbot, our goal is to give you the tools you need to become an effective writer. As we develop these products, we want to give you some tips that can help you write better today.
1. Don’t write continuously for hours on end
It’s easy to say you’re going to dedicate the next four to five hours just to writing your paper. Believe it or not, this is counterproductive and might cause you to spend more time than you wanted writing.
Writing and generating ideas continuously taxes your cognitive capacity. Your brain needs rest to think effectively. It’s no different than your brain needing sleep. Moreover, if you’re working against a tight deadline, stress may kick in and you’ll get stuck with writer's block.
The best way to prevent this is to take regular breaks. As an example, for every 50 minutes you work, take a 10 minute break. We recommend doing something simple and fun, like playing a game of solitaire or talking a quick walk. You want to consistently refresh your mind so you can get back to writing fluidly again.
2. Ask five “Whys” to help come up with a topic
Coming up with a topic can be the hardest part of your paper. What should you write about?
We suggest asking five “why” questions to explore potential ideas. For example, if your topic is about Michael Jordan, you can ask why he’s considered the best basketball player of all time. If it was his skillset, why was he so skillful? If his talent comes from his work regimine, why was it so effective?
Asking questions helps open up new approaches to take. Keep digging in, and you’ll find there are all sorts of different ideas to write about.
3. Try rapid outlining
Many people skip writing an outline for their paper. They think that as they write, ideas will flow and the paper will come together. Oftentimes, this process instead ends in disjointed thoughts and arguments, and a low grade on your paper.
Outlining works! It forces you to think about your topic and how you will support it. Moreover, it helps lead to a structured paper with logical and coherent points that support your thesis.
To get over the outlining hump, we suggest trying rapid outlining. Take a piece of paper (even a napkin works!) and try to outline your paper in 15 minutes. It sounds unconventional, but it forces you to think about how you want to structure your paper. Now you’ll have a foundation to either develop a better outline and write a better paper.
4. Paraphrase to support your arguments
Once you have an outline, you need to start building around it. As you research, consider paraphrasing and summarizing the supporting evidence you find for your paper. Fortunately, with QuillBot, you can do that easily and effectively.
Paraphrasing allows you to take evidence and seamlessly tie it into your writing, and it also has the benefit of adding more content to your paper. Remember: you should always cite whatever you paraphrase, and use your own words and thoughts to add to it.
Go conquer writing
With these strategies, writing will not only become less intimidating, but you’ll start producing even better work. Good luck!