I used to be a hardcore procrastinator, typing papers just hours before the deadline. And unfortunately, through some combination of genetics and previous writing experience, I got away with it. So, besides the stress of being a chronic procrastinator, I didn’t have much external pressure to change my style. But then I started graduate school, and I decided to make a change. I knew the papers were going to be longer and not so easily crafted in one coffee-powered night. And more importantly, I realized I cared way more about school now, and just couldn’t rely on my wiz-bang writing process anymore.
My procrastination problem was primarily one of simply getting the paper started, either out of fear or laziness. One tactic I used to jump-start my writing was creating artificial deadlines for myself. For example, I’d schedule a check-in with a classmate, or even more helpfully, an appointment at the Writing Center. I knew I’d be too embarrassed to show up without at least gathering my thoughts beforehand, so this tactic worked really well for me. I also found scheduling a short block of time, say 10-30 minutes, to intensely focus on one assignment forced me to at least start thinking about the paper, even if the notes didn’t lead to a final product. For projects that felt too big or scary to start, I’d try to use those short blocks of time to identify what felt like manageable chunks of the paper to start on.
Whatever your reason for procrastinating, there are some great ways to get going! I hope you find a tool that works for you.
Writing Center Tutor
Antioch University New England