Do you ever have that problem while you’re
writing that you edit yourself so much while you’re doing it that you feel you’ll never
get anything written? You know, you’re sitting at your computer
starting a new chapter, and you start writing the first sentence and then scratch it out,
and then you try again and notice a spelling mistake, which you correct and then you start
wondering if that’s the right word in this context so you try and think of another and
then get frustrated because you can’t think of one off the top of your head.
Pretty soon half an hour has gone by and you’re still stuck on the same paragraph.
You’ve written a little bit, and deleted it. And written a bit more, and deleted that.
It’s like you’re going three steps forward and two steps back with every sentence.
After a short while you may have even forgotten the original idea that you set out to write
about, and quickly you’re going to lose motivation. This happens to me all the time, so here are
few things that really help for me. Sometimes I might set the timer and say I’m
just going to write whatever comes into my head for 20 minutes without stopping or correcting
any mistakes which I’ll fix after. If you try this, but still find yourself correcting
things and getting frustrated with how it’s coming out try this tip I got from Graduate
Education Officers at UWA. They call it ‘blind writing.’
On some Mac computers you can turn the contrast down on the screen until it goes completely
blank, and at the same time you can still type.
This means you can write without distraction. If you have a PC desktop, you might be able
to switch off the screen while you work. If you don’t have a computer where you can
turn off the screen, just try focusing on your hands as you type and forget about what
you’re writing. Then all you have to do is set your timer
and write for 10 or 20 minutes without stopping. Once you’re done, you can fix up any mistakes
and polish up your language, but the important thing is to get your ideas out first without
censoring them. At first this might feel a little strange,
but after a while you’ll get used to it. And don’t be shocked when you look at what
you’ve written and it’s full of spelling and grammar mistakes.
That’s only natural. What you’re looking for at this stage is quantity
not quality. You can worry about quality later when you
go and fix up your writing later and make it more polished.
And if you’re like me, you might be surprised that some of your writing is quite good, and
worth expanding on and polishing up for later use.
You can get more study tips and advice on the STUDYSmarter website.
There you can also find the Coursework Research Forum, which has resources specifically designed
for UWA Honours and Masters students. Brought to you by UWA Student Services.