Monday, May 4, 2009

Writing, writing everywhere, but not a drop to drink.

School will most likely kick my butt this week.

I have a paper due (I started researching…yesterday? Oops.) and another assignment due (that one is sort of started), and then a few details to wrap up in each of my classes. With any luck, by this Saturday, I will be DONE. I’m going to forge ahead on writing the paper tonight, and hopefully get the majority of it done. It’s a research paper – my specialty usually. I have an almost foolproof method, which I perfected in undergrad. It seems to have carried over to graduate papers… so far.

My method:

  1. Begin by using the library and its article searches to find as many full-text articles I can. Save them, copy them, etc. Any articles not available are requested through Inter-Library Loan at least a week before the paper is due.
  2. Create a basic outline of what I want to write. Very basic. This will change a lot as I learn more about my subject.
  3. Print the articles and begin reading, highlighting points here and there I might want to include in my paper. Write down particularly poignant points for quotes in my paper, with citations, on my outline.
  4. Assemble an outline in greater detail, with corresponding quotes from my sources included on the outline. Usually write the introduction at this point.
  5. Fill in the outline by arranging the quotes in a rational order and write in commentary around them.

All told, it usually takes me three or four hours to do the initial article search, three or four hours to read the articles (or skim, if I feel they may not be of use), and a couple of hours to do the detailed outline. By the time I actually write the paper, if I’ve followed this pattern, it usually takes me no more than an hour and a half to write the sucker.

Tonight will be the detailed outline and the beginnings of writing. Wish me luck.

No comments: