1. Research before you write
Do your research prior to writing your paper. Make sure that you have as much information on the topic before you begin to sit down and actually write. The more information that you have, the better you are able to organize and write your paper. I believe this one is self-explanatory.
2. Outline before you write
Organize the different portions or ideas of your paper before writing. I cannot tell you how many times I began writing, but failed to have an outline of the information that I wanted to share and develop in my paper. It caused my writing session to be frustrating, confusing at times, and very time-consuming. With that being said, save yourself the big headache in advance and organize your thoughts on a piece of paper or Word document prior to writing.
3. Break it up
“When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” ~ Creighton Abrams. My previous professor shared this quote with me when I was having issues in time management. This quote helped me remember that we cannot do everything at once. It takes time to create a masterpiece. If you need to, break up your writing sessions into a few days. I may decide to spend 30 minutes writing on Wednesday, and another 30 minutes on Thursday. If you have more time to write before your due date, take advantage of it. This takes discipline, but can be done once you put your mind to it and stick with it. The choice is yours, so choose wisely to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed when trying to balance work, school and home life.
4. Give credit where it is due
Avoid plagiarism at all times. This tip is extremely important in college. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, plagiarism is defined as the act of using someone else’s words or even ideas without giving credit to that person. This is also referred to in college as academic dishonesty and stealing. Please make sure that you reference all of your quotes and citations properly to avoid plagiarism. Colleges do not mess around when it comes down to plagiarism. In fact, some colleges will expel you and remove you from their institution permanently if they discover you have plagiarized on your academic paper.
5. Review out loud
Read (or have someone else read) your paper aloud. I do not know how many times this tip has saved me from making a complete fool out of myself. In college, and especially grad school; we are required to write more maturely compared to when we were in high school. When you hear your words spoken aloud, you can easily hear if they make sense, and can more easily catch misspelled words and other errors. Remember, if your paper does not make sense to you, it won’t make sense to your professor or classmates.
6. Find your writing spot
Lastly, do not forget to place yourself in your most comfortable environment when writing. Some people can write better in noisy environments and some can write better in quiet spaces. Regardless, make sure you are writing in an area that is most comfortable for you, so you can create the best paper possible. Your surroundings can affect your attitude and emotions which can sometimes show in your writing.