Let’s face it: we all hate deadlines. Whether we are students writing college papers or office workers needing to submit a monthly report, we all shiver in stress in the view of an upcoming deadline. Different people have different ways of organizing themselves. However, we would like to offer several essential tips on how to complete a writing assignment successfully and on time in order to avoid the pre-deadline rush. We would like to divide these tips into three basic categories: before, while and after writing guidelines.
Before writing tips:
- Start as soon as you can!
Let’s be honest. No one is really given a writing assignment one or two days before the deadline. Students are usually given heaps of time in order to complete their paper on time. Therefore, the first and foremost advice here would be to start as soon as possible. The old saying goes, “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today”. This is true and a must to remember if you want to succeed in your writing project. Bear in mind that any paper, master or PhD level in particular, requires a lot of research and analysis before you even embark on writing anything. In order, to allow ample time on proofreading and reviewing, you really have to seize the opportunity and begin as soon as you can.
- Allow sufficient time on research and organization of materials for analysis!
Writing a research project means you have to spend enough time studying and organizing a wealth of data before putting it all down on paper. It is essential to allot adequate time for processing the information in order to understand it carefully and use it appropriately while writing. Spend time on online as well as library research. Yes, that’s right: libraries still exist and are ready to open their limitless supplies of knowledge which could be very useful in your research.
- Organize the obtained data carefully!
Nothing compares to the old-fashioned manner of taking notes. Didn’t you feel better and more secure when revising using your own notes rather than trying to read someone else’s handwriting? The ways of organizing information on paper can vary from one student to another, but the truth is that writing ideas down will greatly facilitate you in remembering them and getting the gist of what you are planning to write about. Always keep your notes around. You never know when another cool idea might pop into your mind!
- Share and discuss ideas with your research advisor.
Any research assignment is a journey for two people: you and your advisor. In order to go in the right direction and keep on track, share your ideas with your advisor as much as possible. They may ask you some questions to get you thinking so you know where you are and where you are going. Don’t attempt to write everything alone. Though some professors may feel a bit reluctant to assist you thoroughly, advisors are usually keen on discussing ideas with their students in order to ensure their success.
While writing tips:
- Organize your writing time carefully
Everything matters here: time of the day, your computer, location, even your mood. Make sure you are well rested before you proceed to working on your paper. It is always a good idea to start working in the morning while you are still refreshed after the night’s sleep, break for lunch and work some more in the afternoon. It is highly undesirable to work in the evening and at night. However, this depends largely on every individual’s study habits. In any case, even if you are more comfortable working at night, ensure adequate rest before you start working.
- Save your work on several media.
Never trust your computer fully. Even if you are using the top quality device with the most state-of-the-art software, it is still a manmade machine which can fail you any time. And it is particularly painful when you have written a number of pages and then your computer just decides to collapse and you cannot retrieve anything! The best advice here is to save your work on several media which you can just keep in store in case of a technical emergency. If possible, use a CD-ROM to save your project as this medium is more reliable than a USB in terms of antivirus security. You may also want to print your paper chapter by chapter and keep it in a separate file.
- Consult your research advisor regularly.
Professors are allocated a certain number of hours for each student. Use this time wisely. Bring a voice recorder to a tutorial to record the professor’s comments. Save these recordings for later when you need to amend your paper. Remember that your success is also the recognition of your professor’s achievement. This means they are also interested in your accomplishing the project in time. That is why you need to make sure your cooperation is productive and successful.
- Allow some time before rereading your paper and have it proofread by another person.
Don’t attempt to proofread sections of your paper right after you finish writing. Give your mind some rest before you proofread. You may also want to ask some of your fellow students to help you proofread. The truth is that as you are writing your project, you so get used to it that it becomes really hard to spot mistakes, misprints, illogical ideas, etc. That is why before submitting your paper to your advisor for evaluation, proofread it thoroughly and have someone else proofread it. Even some technical suggestions from a non-professional would be helpful at this stage.
- Be immersed in academic writing in order to deliver your ideas logically.
Academic writing has some features specific to this particular style. Therefore, it is crucial to spend as much time as possible reading other academic materials, research papers, articles, etc. in order to stick to an academic style.
After writing tips:
- Carefully deal with technical specifics before submitting your paper.
Your tutorials, especially final ones, will be a lot more efficient if your professor doesn’t have to spend hours fixing your typos and arranging your pages layout. Research papers often come with tables, diagrams, graphs, etc., which may be real pain if you don’t organize them well. Study academic guidelines specific to your paper and follow them precisely.
- Give yourself some rest before reviewing your paper again.
Once again, after you have completed the paper, rest well, stay away from your computer, take a break for a day or two before you look through and review your paper again. Remember that no one is perfect and you may still have to do heaps of work before submitting your project, but it is the effort that counts and your professional growth as well.
We may not like the process and the stress papers bring, but the result is worth the effort. After all, you won’t have to do this for the rest of your life. So why not work hard for some time and succeed in order to enjoy the sense of achievement afterwards?