So you just glanced at the syllabus for your least favorite class and discovered that you have an essay due tomorrow. You probably think you're sunk. You might be considering asking for an extension or giving up on the assignment outright.
Before you do any of that, read this article to the end because, today, we would like to offer you some advice that will help you nail that deadline and deliver an exceptional paper as well even if you're not the world's best essay writer in the first place. It's doable, and we're going to show you how in five easy steps.
#1 – Prepare Mentally For the Task Ahead
Decide to get this assignment done and deliver an excellent essay. Commit to doing what it takes to finish the task on time. Tell yourself that the deadline is workable and that you can hit it quickly by merely starting right now. A small dose of determination here can make all the difference in whether or not you succeed.
Clear away all distractions. Turn off your phone. Turn off the TV. If you have plans with friends, break them. There's always tomorrow night or next weekend. Right now, it's time to get down to business. Get into your pajamas or whatever you put on to go to bed. It will help you acclimate to the idea of being in for the night. Use the bathroom, too, before you start writing. Trust us.
#2 – Assemble Your Tools
Gather any books and other written source material you intend to use to write your paper. They should be the only things you need besides your computer, tablet, or whatever device you are using to write your essay. Also, keep a snack and something to drink (preferably water) close by so you don't start making excuses for getting up and wandering around.
#3 – Decide On Your Thesis Statement
Condense the argument in your essay down to one concise sentence. You can then use that sentence, or some variation or expansion of it, as the thesis statement for your essay. In marketing terms, this would be the academic equivalent of an "elevator pitch." You have a brief time to spin a convincing argument, and you need to do it in as few words as possible.
Your thesis should be thought-provoking and open-ended. Good thesis statements have at least a small element of controversy and leave room for opposing views. They make the reader want to know where you are going with your argument and motivate them to keep reading to find out.
#4 – Do Everything in One Place
While longer research papers might require more detailed notes or notecards, essays are more straightforward to manage so try to keep everything you write (from letters to first and final drafts) in a single document on your word processor. Start with enough rough notes to give you the right amount of information. Next, organize those notes into an outline. Finally, compose your first draft from the shape and revise as needed.
#5 – Checks for Proper Spelling, Grammar, and Syntax
Use online tools like Grammarly and Hemingway to assess the flow of your paper and make the recommended changes suggested by the apps. When you have a draft is mostly free of errors, carefully read over your text to ensure that you have chosen all the right words in context. Don't obsess over minute details. If the paper reads well, a misplaced comma here or there won't count too much against you.
Keep in mind that spelling and grammar checkers don't always catch the more subtle errors, especially if typos form actual, properly-spelled words. Be sure the messaging in your essay is correct and as you intended. All these things will help you produce a strong final draft that you can be proud to hand into your teacher or prof.
As a last word of advice, try not to obsess over your deadline to the point that worry keeps you from completing the task. Don't worry as much about the clock as you do the content of your essay. Even if time is short, you want to take the time to peruse and critique your work and deliver the best final draft you can in the time you have to produce it.