“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” -Louis L’ Amour
Follow these tips to help you navigate the stressful challenge of writing final papers. Among these tips are some essential dos and don’ts when it comes to crafting that academic masterpiece-your ticket to finishing the semester strong.
Tip Number One: Read and Re-read the Instructions
Sometimes, a student does not even realize that his or her assignment deviates from the instructions and turns it in anyway. It is so important to read the full instructions twice before putting pen to paper. I often highlight and copy the instructions straight from Blackboard to paste into my Word document. That way, I can read the instructions multiple times as I make progress to ensure I don’t end up off track.
Tip Number Two: Research
If the paper relates to information from your textbook, read through that section and take notes. If any questions come up, it also helps to email or call your professor.
For research papers, gathering information and references before writing is often helpful. Make sure to keep track of your references on a second word document. The Regent Library Database is a great place to find peer reviewed and scholarly sources.
Tip Number Three: Brainstorming Techniques
The process of getting ideas onto paper involves multiple stages of varying quality- and that’s okay! Sometimes it helps say your ideas out loud, or record yourself explaining what you want to say and then listen back to it. You can also write down everything you are thinking and organize it later.
Tip Number Four: Organization
Thesis statements will help you write the rest of your paper. Visit the Writing Lab website, regent.edu/writing, and access the Thesis Statements resource for more information. It also helps to bring up a template for the five-paragraph essay structure as an organization reference. Alternatively, you could organize your ideas using an outline template.
Tip Number Five: Allow for Imperfection
The first draft of a paper will never be perfect the first time around. This is okay! In order to get to a polished piece at the end, you must be open to writing with mistakes and imperfections first. Don’t allow your fear of imperfection hinder your writing process or slow you down.
Tip Number Six: Waves of Editing
Try reading your paper out loud to see how it sounds. If a certain sentence does not seem right, try isolating the problem or rewriting the sentence in a few different ways. View some of the resources on Regent.edu/writing on grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation. It also helps to leave for a while and come back to your paper with fresh eyes.
Tip Number Seven: The Writing Lab
It takes less than two minutes to book phone or Blackboard Collaborate appointment on the Regent.edu/writing website. Writing Lab tutors can help you brainstorm your paper, talk you through how to organize, and answer any writing questions you may have. There are also virtual walk-in hours hosted by Blackboard Collaborate that anyone can join from the Writing Lab website.
Hopefully these tips offered some helpful advice. Best of luck on your paper! If you have any questions, feel free to email the writing lab at Writing@regent.edu.