Start Early: The Most Obvious but Least Observed Writing Advice

The most helpful tip I have for writing is also, probably, the most obvious: start early! This semester, I wrote a total of 44 pages for three classes.  On top of that, I finished on time, or early, for all three papers. The only thing that made this possible was starting early. Don’t get me wrong; I love to procrastinate as much as the next person, but waiting until the last minute to write 15+ pages is a hellish decision. I had roughly a week’s start on each paper. (you might be surprised to know that some people would say even starting a week early is too close to the deadline!)

 

My writing was a breeze. I didn’t set any goals, like the common “I’ll write two pages a day and be done.” I wrote and revised as much as I could at any given time. I worked at my own pace, leaving big gaps to watch “Chopped” and bake cookies. And by the time the deadline came around, I was in great shape. I even had time left over to take a yoga class, right before one of the papers was due. Being able to take some time off in between writing to do fun things made the end of my semester so much easier.  I didn’t have to pull all-nighters and I didn’t have that terrible end of the semester super-stress. If you’re normally a procrastinator, I hope you can learn to avoid this vicious cycle:

 

Start your writing early, and you will have plenty of time to do all those fun, procrastinationish things, without all of the stress that normally comes from a quickly approaching deadline.

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