English Composition 2
Back to Writing Tips from Students
Back to Writing Tips from Students
Ways to Simplify the Writing Process
by Patrick Kozlowski
I have always been a better writer than I am a public speaker, but it took time for my writing form to be refined. The thought of college level writing intimidated me while I was in high school, and I initially was not looking forward to taking my first college level English class last spring. I was surprised to find out that college writing is not that hard if you know how to streamline the writing process. Utilizing an effective model for the development of your essay is essential, along with providing enough time to reasonably implement it, and it is also equally as important that you are taking full advantage of the resources at your disposal.
Creating an efficient and well thought out plan for writing your paper will significantly save you time and effort when you are preparing your rough draft. Many people, including myself, sometimes suffer from a nuisance called writerís block. Beyond the header, getting the first few words written on an essay can be difficult and incredibly frustrating for many. I wrote my papers like this throughout my years in high school until I took my first English course in college. Our instructor gave us our first essay assignment shortly after the class began, but he provided us an outline that we could use to easily develop a first draft. He organized it like a worksheet, in which you fill in the blanks for your thesis, main ideas, supporting evidence, etc. Aside from the introduction and conclusion, practically the whole essay could be written in the worksheet. This allowed me to quickly generate rough drafts of my essays, and I used the model for every other type of writing since. Not only did it help prevent writerís block, but it helped to make sure that I was organized and keeping on track. It does not even have to be in the form of a worksheet, because something as simple as an outline would work just as well. You are essentially just breaking up your essay into little pieces. Therefore, your efforts to create your essay will be simplified provided that you gave yourself enough time.
It is just as critical that you give yourself enough time to write your essay, as procrastination will surely lead to lower grades. Everyone has done it at one point, but it is a habit that must be broken. College lever papers do not necessarily mean more words to write, but rather more guidelines to adhere to. I have found that the more time that I give to write my essay drafts, the better the grade will usually be. You cannot just put rambling words in your essays, and expect to receive an A. Your essays will involve much more thinking about the subject and your essay itself. I can create a rough draft relatively quickly, but that does not mean that it is optimal for turning in. A common rule is to spend as much time as you did on creating the rough draft, if not even more, for the revising process. When I look back at the essay I have written, I usually notice many things that could be changed, added, or even removed. Revising is not just proofreading, like I thought before I took college level English. If you procrastinate, you will probably not have enough time to spend revising your essay. The revision process is meant to take a significant amount of time, so effective use of time is paramount to receiving a good grade on your essays. However, it is equally as important to seek help when you need it.
As a college student, you will likely have many resources at your disposal to help you with your writing. The most important thing that you can do before you turn in your revised draft is to give your paper to someone else for a secondary opinion. Other people may be able to catch errors that you cannot see, so proofreading must be done by more than just yourself. A writing center is a very good place to do this, and most colleges should have one. They offer a free analysis of your essay by either an instructor or a tutor. Tutors from the writing center have helped identify errors in all of my papers that I might not have seen on my own. Usually I would take it to them right before I turned in my final draft in order to make sure everything was in check. Additionally, the internet can also provide a lot of resources that will help you in your process of writing and revising. My instructor created a website that housed plenty of information to help us with our papers. It included tutorials on different parts of the writing process, and even had a revision checklist to help us analyze everything in our papers. While not all instructors will do this, a quick search on the internet can provide similar results. There are even websites that will proofread your paper for you such as paperrater.com. These can be effective tools when you proofread your final draft, but it is important to be vigilant in making sure that all of the suggestions are actually correct. There can be times when a suggestion is false, as I have encountered while using paperrater.com. However, it still helps me when Iím trying to scrutinize my paper for any errors.
Your writing process can be improved by following a tentative writing plan, giving yourself a reasonable amount of time to implement that plan, and utilizing the wealth of resources available to a college student. Your tentative plan will help you rapidly generate a rough draft of your essay. Make sure that you give yourself enough time to accomplish this, or you will face a lower grade on the essay. Finally, make sure to utilize every resource that is available to you in order to help you perfect your writing. Writing in college does not have to be scary, as long as you develop constructive writing habits that help strengthen your writing ability.