How to Write an Essay Fast: Solutions for Procrastination
Breaking Through Writer's Block
Have you been procrastinating? Is your paper due in less than 24 hours? Do not panic. While you should have managed your time more wisely, there is still a way to finish your paper in time and get the grade you deserve. This article will help you write an essay as quickly as possible. Just follow the seven steps below.
Before starting your essay, you have to read the related text(s) or source(s). If you do not have time to read the entire text, you can do one of the following:
- read a summary/analysis of the text(s),
- read an analysis of the text(s),
- look up and collect relevant and important quotes from the text(s).
Note: While you speed read or quickly search for quotes, make sure to never “steal” or copy word-for-word ideas from another writer.
Q: What is the five-consecutive-word plagiarism rule?
A: If you copy five or more consecutive words from someone else's writing, then you must cite them as a quotation. Otherwise, you are guilty of plagiarism.
While you read, either underline or copy and paste the quotes or passages that you feel are important. Make sure to add quotation marks and cite your sources properly before adding your own commentary. This will save time later when you write the original text of your essay.
3. Form a Thesis
Use the quotes you collected to form a thesis statement. The thesis is the main point your paper will prove. It is a specific and focused declaration of what you notice, believe, or deduce about the subject. Your thesis makes an assertion: the quotes will be your evidence.
Note: Your thesis statement should be a sentence or two long. Do not write your thesis paragraph yet. You do not have enough information to do this until you have written the body and conclusion of your essay.
4. Write Topic Sentences
Once you come up with your thesis statement, list at least three points that back it up. (You may make up to ten points depending on the length requirement of your essay.) Each point should have at least one quote that supports it.
Take the points you listed and construct complete sentences out of them. (For example, if your thesis is “Jimmy’s father is mad at him,” and one of your supporting points is “Dad grounded Jimmy,” you will want to reword it so that it acts as a topic sentence: “One indicator that Jimmy’s father is angry with him is that he grounded Jimmy in Chapter Three.”) Once you have all of your points in complete sentences, type them onto your word processor and rearrange them so that they are cohesive, pushing your argument further.
Paste your topic sentences in order with the relevant, supporting quote(s) underneath. You will begin to see the structure of your essay form on the page(s). After you have arranged all of your quotes and topic sentences, you may have formed a conclusion. If so, write the concluding paragraph now. If you are still unsure about the conclusion, continue to the next step and write it after that.
“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”
― E.M. Forster
6. Add Your Own Words
Now that you have the main idea and structure of your essay, you will want to start adding original sentences to your paper. Start with the body of the essay. Explain and discuss your topic sentence in your own words and explain clearly how each quote supports that topic sentence. Keep explaining and expanding your thoughts until each paragraph has 3-5 sentences.
Once you have done this, it is time to write your concluding paragraph (if you haven’t done so already) and your thesis paragraph. After you finish these, you will see that you have constructed an essay.
You aren’t done yet. You will need to edit this essay (especially if you wrote it quickly). Editing shouldn’t take too long unless you had trouble with the other steps. Read your paper all of the way through and fix any grammatical errors. Think about the words you chose and if there are other more precise or descriptive words you might use in their place. Clarify your explanations and expand them where you need to. Make sure your paper flows smoothly from one thought to the next and if you have time, have someone else read it for clarity.
How to Stop Procrastinating and Write that Paper!
Remove all distractions.
Turn off your phone. Put out a "do not disturb" sign. Lock your door. Disable Wi-Fi. Stuff earplugs in your ears. Eliminate all your regular procrastination pit-stops and time-sucks. Do whatever it takes to make sure you won't be interrupted.
Hang out with inspiring people.
The people you're with influence your behavior and attitude, so choose wisely. Identify which people inspire you to do your best and hang out with them more often.
Make a to-do list.
Make a list of the steps you will need to take to finish the task. Break each large task into small, bite-sized pieces (like the list above, for example) and post somewhere visible.
Set strict deadlines.
Next to each item on your to-do list, set a specific time and date of completion. Remember that this deadline is not a suggestion, it's an order. Write it in blood-red pen if you have to.
Find the perfect environment.
Find the ideal comfortable and distraction-free spot and park yourself there until you have finished your task.
JUST DO IT.
Tell yourself you are not allowed to move until you're done. Remind yourself that each list item is a small task and it won't take long. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, focus on how good you'll feel when you've done it.
Every time you finish one of the items on your to-do list, reward yourself with some kind of treat. When you've finished the paper, have a little celebration.
You have just written an essay in record time. Good luck with your assignment and maybe next time, you will start your essay a little earlier!
Need More Help?
For additional help, please read my other article, “How to Write an A+ English Paper.”