If every time you sit down to write you end up feeling like the person below…
…it might not be the assignment’s fault.* Rather, it might be time to look in the mirror and then look at your writing habits.
We’ve talked before about the problems of procrastination, but there’s another way to tackle your writing woes. It seems counterintuitive, but writing more often might actually make you feel less frustrated!
Now, I’m not advocating for you to turn your entire life upside down and write from sun-up to sun-down, but even having a few small writing projects (like a blog or a journal or a daily gratitude practice, etc.) for no more than fifteen to twenty minutes a day can really make a difference when you sit down to work on longer assignments for school.
Why should you believe me? Here are a few reasons:
Practice makes perfect: Just like for any sport or skill you want to learn, good writers have had to spend a lot of time honing their craft. The more you write, the more comfortable you feel trying to incorporate new vocabulary or sentence structures or ideas since you’ve built up some knowledge of what has or hasn’t worked for you in the past.
You’ll become more creative and logical: Putting words down on paper forces you to consider the order in which you’re presenting ideas and how you’re presenting these ideas. There are literally millions of ways you can state an idea, so why not challenge yourself to try some new forms?
If you decide to freewrite every day, you might be surprised by the material you create. Maybe you find yourself writing about your pet snakes one day and the planes you’ll be taking on an upcoming trip the next. Guess what? If you started paying attention to what you’re saying, maybe you could try to combine these ideas into a story…
…or could help you look at your assignment prompt in a new way.
It completes you. (And I don’t mean it in the Jerry Maguire sort of way.) But, think about it: there’s a reason why romantic moments in shows sometimes feature characters writing a list or journaling while they are trying to decide what to do next. Writing often helps clear your mind to give you clarity about who you are and what you want.
Just ask Ross on Friends…
or Bridget Jones…
…or the ultimate writer/analyzer: columnist Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City:
You *might* actually like it. Who knows? Maybe if you start writing more regularly, this image below might someday be you:
*To be fair, some writing assignments can be pure agony to complete if they aren’t designed well.