Focusing on good essay writing technique is all very well, but for many of us sitting down to write an essay at all can be a major hurdle. Maybe you have found yourself awake at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning with an essay or assignment deadline looming, unable to write more than a few scribbled sentences? How can you break the deadlock?

  • Plan to succeed – It is often said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. As soon as you receive the essay questions, look at your calendar and plan out your time between now and the deadline. Set yourself goals for each week. How many chapters are you going to read? Will you write your essay plan or a first draft? How many words can you write this week?
  • Student study skills remember – You can never get everything done. You will never be able to read every book or journal article recommended on the reading list. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be realistic about what it is possible to achieve.
  • Get comfortable – Make sure you have a comfortable work space where you won’t be disturbed. Maybe you’re happier going to the library away from the distractions of the internet, music, telephone calls and texts. Find a space that has enough light and a supportive chair. You don’t want to be too hot or too cold, and you need enough desk space to spread out all your notes.
  • Get away from the internet. – The internet is maybe everyone’s favourite time waster. Unplug your internet connection or switch off your wifi. It can be all too easy to ‘Just check my emails one more time’ before you get started on that essay.
  • Relax! – You have to find a way to manage your panic and stress. Alcohol, cigarettes, chocolate and other high sugar or high-fat foods are just going to make stress worse (even though in the short term you might think you feel better). Remember, stress is something that you have to respond to after college or university too, so work out coping mechanisms now.
  • Set yourself a routine. Find out when you work best. Maybe you can concentrate best first thing in the morning. Use that as your essay writing time and then you can forget about it for the rest of the day.
  • Reward yourself – Give yourself a treat at the end of each session. Let yourself check your emails, watch your favourite TV soap or listen to an album as a reward for a productive essay writing session.
  • If you have had a persistent and long-term problem with time management for essays then it might take a while before you can produce your work on time and stress-free. Just keep trying. You’re getting better every time.

Did you find this helpful? Let us know how you get on.