Somewhere between listening to ‘Maps’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on repeat and trying to do Monday's Guardian cryptic crossword (7 clues so far, which is quite good for me) I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog. Well not so much a good idea as just an idea. Not even my own idea really since all those who might read this (why?) already have their own blogs and I’m just jumping on the bandwagon. Not really sure what to write about. My life has been pretty dull recently due to a series of successive essay deadlines, all of which I somehow managed to hit. Ok I’ll write about that for now. Not the actual essays ( ‘cos that would be dull unless you have a weird interest in pottery analysis) but rather the writing process. The following is my patented (it’s not patented) seven day essay writing guide.
Relax. You have a whole week to write this essay. If you really feel the need to get started then read the essay question or choose a title if you have that option. If you don’t have any alcohol you should probably stock up at this point because it's gonna be crucial for days 2-5.
Procrastinate. Reassure yourself that there’s plenty of time left. Get some books out from the library but don’t look at them. Kill time by watching something, anything, online. Films, comedy, drama - whatever. Read Mini’s blog for advice on this. While you have time you might as well read everyone else’s blogs. Maybe even write one of your own! If the thought of the impending essay is worrying you, have one of those alcoholic drinks and maybe see if people want to go out. You’ll forget about the essay in no time.
Acknowledge that there is an essay to be done. Write out a plan for the next three days knowing full well that you are never going to stick to it. Have a drink and relax after a job well done.
Realise that you now only have three days left and there’s a lot of work to be done. Make yourself feel better by opening a word document and putting the essay title at the top. This is progress. Decide not to go out tonight (this is often a Friday for me) on the basis that you really need to do some work. Stay in but inevitably get very little done. Maybe read a bit.
Panic. You’ve only got two days left and you’ve barely started. What on Earth have you been doing for the last five days? Launch into some reading and make scribbly notes. If anyone else but you can read them then you're not writing fast enough. Become increasingly aware of the volume of the task ahead. Stock up on coffee. If you have an essay plan done by the end of today you are doing very well. Read the books you picked up earlier and find some articles to bulk up your bibliography. Go to bed at a reasonable hour in preparation for the potential all-nighter tomorrow.
Focus. Calm is essential now. Work in short bursts and have lots of breaks. If you have reading left to do (you will) just skim it and read the conclusions – they should have all the information you need. As it gets later you may find you lose focus. This can be tackled through regular coffee breaks. Biscuits are also a must have if it looks like it’s gonna be a really long night. Separate the work into chunks and write a paragraph at a time, taking breaks in between each one. Keep going until finished. You’ll probably never want to see the essay again at this point so submit it as soon as possible (if you can do it online) and go to bed.
Wake up and remember about that other essay that’s due in three days. Scream.