When it comes to writing there’s no right or wrong in terms of a technique. Yes, there are grammatical rules to follow and of course the pursuit of originality trumps all; you don’t want to get caught plagiarizing. No doubt you’ll know by your first college course, or sooner for some, if you enjoy writing for class or hate it. In the online environment writing is how you communicate with your peers and your teacher, so whether it’s enjoyable or a chore you get used to it pretty quickly. One important thing to determine about writing style is if you can write a long paper in one sitting, or if you need a couple of weeks to gather your thoughts.
Why is it important to know how quickly you can shape words into sentences on a word processing document? It falls back on time management and if you’re spending your time wisely. For the “hare” writer you may just need a couple of days to gather your research and a mindmap for the paper. If you’re more of the “tortoise” when it comes to producing papers then you’ll need ample time to not only collect your thoughts, but to put them on paper.
Good time management is not something that can be developed overnight. You need to understand your schoolwork ethic, time limitations, and personal limitations for certain assignments.
For the marathon writer there are a few rules you can apply in order to stay in your target deadline, and still produce a quality paper.
- Read the paper assignment at the beginning of the week, and jot down notes on paper topics.
- Write out the topic and research for at least three sources within the online library.
- Map out the paper in stages. Start your introduction at the beginning of the week, then write the meat of the paper by mid-week, and write the conclusion a couple days before the due date.
If you have more than a week to produce your paper then extend these guidelines out more. Some students may want to spend a good part of a week just researching. This will help to clarify your angle on the topic and provide useful quotations to support your thesis. Always make sure to give yourself at least a day or two to proof your paper. This way you have time to make adjustments if the paper isn’t flowing or the ideas are not connecting.
When you are quick to pen this means that writing is something that comes naturally. For the fortunate ones who are gifted with the talent of writing it may only take a couple days to put out a high quality paper for class. If this is the case here are a few tips for making the most of your time when producing a paper.
- Know your limits on writing. If you can write an eight to ten page paper in a few hours consider how much more time an 18-20 page paper will take you.
- Create a schedule for writing the paper. Sometimes spending more time on the assigned reading can give a better understanding for the final paper. Make sure to dedicate one day to research, a couple hours to mindmapping, and then at least a few hours to write.
- Allot time to proofreading. Even the best writers make mistakes so it’s important to proof before you hit submit.
It is important to note that one method isn’t better than the other. There’s the saying, “slow and steady wins the race.” While writing shouldn’t be a race to the finish, it does illustrate the point that care should be taken with the task. So whether you’re quick or slow to produce a paper make sure the quality is on par with your instructors expectations.
By J. Mason
Online Learning Tips Editor