There are two types of people in the academic world: those that thrive on written exams and those that dread anything but multiple choice tests. If you’ve struggled with essay writing in the past, this post is for you. Whether you’re a victim of writer’s block or just can’t seem to organize your thoughts on paper, there are plenty of ways you can improve your process and nail your next essay assignment.
1) Invest in tech that works
Sometimes it can be challenging to get into a writing flow, and there is truly nothing more distracting than unreliable technology interrupting your progress. There are many different types of classroom computers to choose from, but when you’re choosing a device to get work done there are a few features you should pay special attention to:
- Processing power: If you run multiple programs at once as part of your research and writing process, you will want to have a computer that has the bandwidth to do so. A clock speed of 3.5 GHZ to 4.0 GHZ is good for casual use and some gaming use.
- Internet connectivity: High-speed internet connectivity is an absolute must if you want to improve your writing skill and productivity.
- Portability: Oftentimes changing up your scenery is a great way to reinspire creativity. Be more mobile by getting a lightweight and portable computer.
2) Eliminate distractions
Creating a productive environment is probably the best thing you can do for your writing. Every writer is different, so some may like the white noise of a cafe while others need to work in total silence in order to get work done. But whether or not you like working in silence or among the buzz of other cafe patrons, there are a few ways you can reduce distractions and enhance productivity no matter where you’re working.
- Silence your devices
- Turn your phone on “do not disturb”
- Put on noise-cancelling headphones
- Create a designated work space in your home
3) Take regular breaks
It can be tempting to write through a period of writer’s block—and sometimes that strategy does work—but it’s important to take breaks throughout the writing process. Going outside for a walk, standing up, or just catching a breath of fresh air can work wonders for your creativity.
If you have trouble remembering to take breaks, get a standing desk or a fitness monitor to remind you to switch up your position every once in a while.
One of the most challenging parts of writing is figuring out how to string a series of thoughts together into one cohesive, digestible piece of work—especially when there’s a lot of research involved! Outlining your work is a great way to create an initial structure for your piece before you actually get to writing.
You can start by doing some preliminary research on the topic and glean insight, statistics, and inspiration from other resources to help guide your writing. Then, create subheadings throughout your piece to make it easier to break up your content. After you’ve created a thorough outline, try to take a break and come back to your work later with a fresh perspective. The outlining process can reduce the time it takes for you to write later on and you might find that the flow of your work is much more consistent as you practice.
5) Attend a writing workshop
Spending too much time in your own head can be a detriment to your own creativity and skill. Whether you’re feeling uninspired with your writing or you just want to learn some technical tips, writing workshops are a great way to connect with other writers, get feedback, and learn different strategies. Most cities have local writer’s workshops that are free or affordable to attend.
Many of the greatest writers in the world say that reading is the most effective way to overcome writer’s block. Why? It stimulates your brain, introduces new words and sentence styles, and helps promote critical thinking. It doesn’t really matter what you read—whether it’s comics, the newspaper, or poetry!
Writing can be a difficult craft, no matter how experienced you are. Use these tips to help you improve your writing skills and watch the words start flowing!