Deadline Pressures

Leave your work out!

Keeping your work (books, notes, articles, etc.) physically out, in full view, gives you a reminder that you are in the middle of the paper, or that you need to start. Also, if you write in more than one shift, it can be helpful to leave off in the middle of a paragraph and leave your ‘tools’ where they are. When you return to the paper, you’ll be able to “warm up” by finishing that paragraph. Starting a new section cold may be more difficult.

Work on improving your writing when you don’t have a deadline.

Investigate your writing process. First of all, you may not think you have a thing called a “writing process.” But you do—everyone does. Describe your writing process in detail.

Ask yourself:

1. When do I usually start on a paper?

2. What tools do I need (or think I need) in order to write?

3. Where do I write?

4. Do I like quiet or noise when I write?

5. How long a block of time do I need?

6. What do I do before I start?

7. What do I do at the end?

8. How do I feel at the end (after I have turned it in)?

Then ask yourself:

What do I like about my writing process?

What do I want to change?

Once you can see your writing process, then you can make a decision to change it. But take it easy with this—only work on one part at a time. Otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed and frustrated—and we all know where that leads, straight down the procrastination road.