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Calvin and Hobbs Writing Comic

Sometimes, we procrastinate because we feel stuck on a particular essay or section of an essay. If this happens, you have several options:

Turn off the screen. Type with a dark screen, so you can’t see what you’ve written, decide you don’t like it, and delete it immediately. Sometimes procrastination stems from insecurity about what to say, or whether we have anything to say. The important thing, in that case, is to get started and KEEP GOING. Turning off the screen may help lessen your fear and turn off your internal critic. When you turn it back on (or print out what you’ve written), you may find that you do have something to say, after all.

Write about writing. Take 15 minutes and write a letter to yourself about why you don’t want to write this. This lets you vent your frustrations and anxieties. Then, Take 15 minutes and write about what you could do to get unstuck. You can also try writing about what you’re going to write, making an initial assessment of the assignment. You won’t have the pressure of writing an actually draft, but you will be able to get something down on paper.

Write the easiest part first. You don’t have to start at the beginning. Whatever section you can do, do it! If you think that’s wimpy, and you would rather do the hardest part first so that you can get it out of the way, that’s fine—whatever works for you. If you start writing and you get stuck, write about why you’re stuck.

Talk it out. Try tape-recording yourself speaking the ideas you want to include in the paper, and then transcribe the tape.