So, you’re procrastinating from work you know you should be doing again. After hours of trawling through quizzes telling you what kind of unicorn you should be or what kind of doughnut you should buy, you’ve stumbled on this. A useful way to categorize yourself, how you write essays, and how best you can turn your weaknesses into a positive.
Type 1. Lazy Essay Writer
Characteristics: You know you have work to do, but nothing in heaven or hell can help you find the motivation to crack open the Word document.
Plan of Attack: Find some fun brainstorming website so studying just feels like more procrastinating, and make sure to pick topics that you’re interested in. Build an obsession stronger than that of Orange is the New Black, then take down the bulk of the essay while you’re high on the productivity buzz.
Type 2. The Last Minuter
Characteristics: You’ve left it all to the last minute, again. You’re reading this right now knowing an essay is due at some point in the next 24 hours, and you seriously need help.
Plan of Attack: Think about how precisely you’re going to use your time. Pick five key texts, and set aside a couple of hours to really get your head around those, writing down quotes, authors, and page numbers as you go so you don’t have to waste time trawling though books to find where you got that perfect quote from. Though you’re probably going to have to write the bulk of the essay pretty quickly, leave aside at least an hour for re-reading and editing, to make sure you don’t lose any points on silly errors.
Type 3. The Pre-Organiser
Characteristics: So, you’ve planned this essay long, long in advance. You’ve done all the reading, picked your question…and now you’re having a complete mental block on how to write the damn thing.
Plan of Attack: Since you’ve done most of the work at this point anyway, you can relax a little bit. It’s easy to get stressed out about writing the essay no matter how much work you’ve done in advance, so let yourself play a little fast and loose with your first draft. Write the opening sentence to all your key points, then fill them in when you’re feeling confident. Leave things like the conclusion and introduction till last, and focus on getting the difficult bit out of the way.
Type 4. The Mental Block Grappler
Characteristics: Chances are, you’re not feeling unmotivated, or rushed, or panicked- you’ve just sat down in front of your notes and can’t get over the big, fat mental block in your way.
Plan of Attack: People will just tell you to try and relax in these scenarios, and they’re right (if annoying). While it’s difficult to just force yourself to get started, try doing some other stimulating activities that will get your brain working. No, I’m not talking about schlepping off and watching TV- try writing a few hundreds of words about a movie you saw last week, or applying for a few internships, or analysing a passage from a book or a poem. Basically, anything that gives you some satisfaction while gently warming your brain up for the task ahead.