Writing a paper for class is inherently stressful to me because I am being judged for my ability to coherently express my ideas in an academic manner while being asked to write about specific points as chosen by the professor. In this situation, I feel that I have little control over the outcome, which results in difficulty having motivation to write and making the writing itself a grueling task.
Although papers written for class are an exercise with specific guidelines, I have found that motivation for writing can be developed from writing a paper that is actually meaningful to me while addressing the points required of the paper. This first happened for me in a class where I was given the task to write about anything related to behavioral psychology. I felt lost having such broad instructions, but grew to enjoy the freedom to write on any aspect of behaviorism I wanted. I ended up writing about B.F. Skinner’s description of a utopian society (complete with positive and negative reinforcement throughout) while integrating my own interest in culture and politics.
This was my most enjoyable experience of writing a paper and has influenced me to write about ideas I am interested in, instead of just writing papers as a requirement for my degree. Doing so keeps me motivated in both the writing and research of the paper. There are many ways to stay motivated and choose a topic, so don’t be afraid to explore what works for best for you.
Graduate Assistant – Virtual Writing Center