You’ve been working for days, even weeks, and you still don’t have one word of your essay written. You really have worked hard but have nothing to show for it.
Fear not! All the groundwork has prepared you well, and the writing should take nowhere near as long as the preparation. Sometimes just sitting down and starting to type is the toughest hurdle to clear. The steps in this blog entry will help you fly over it, leaving it far behind you! .... by Damian Gleeson, Learning Skills Adviser.
Have you fully analysed the topic?
If you don’t analyse it fully, you may not avail yourself of all marks on offer. Essay topics always have the same key ingredients: direction words that tell you what to do, topic words and limiting words that set the required scope. Be very clear that you understand what your tutor requires from you. There are several possible genres that might form part of your writing assessment. Be sure that you know what each genre entails. The Library’s Language and Learning Online is a useful resource to guide you. Several faculties at Monash have their own style guides, like BusEco’s Q Manual and IT’s Style Guide. Check your unit guide and Moodle sites for further information.
Have you done your research?
Make a plan, Stan. Then use it to structure your work, Bjork.
An unplanned essay is potentially a recipe for disaster. As a bare minimum, note your academic position/thesis and the subject of each body paragraph. This should assist you in maintaining a clear, structured response to the assignment question. Remember that each paragraph should consist of one idea that is explained in detail, supported by evidence and examples and linked back to the topic in order to prove its relevance. To do this in 1 - 3 sentences is impossible. If your paragraph is longer than a page, there is probably more than one main idea or there is too much detail. Don't forget a clear introduction that
- provides a general intro to the topic
- tells your reader about your particular focus
- offers a thesis statement indicating your academic position
- previews your work’s structure, showing how you intend to achieve your stated goal.
Ready? Set? Write!
There are countless excuses to stop you from sitting down and typing your assignment. None of them is likely to justify your inertia. Once you actually start writing, you should find all that research, reading, planning and thinking has put you in a position where the flow quickly becomes a torrent. Get it all out of you as fast as you can! You can edit and proofread it all later. Go!