I’m Submitting My Writing Again

It’s about time.

As a 21-year-old, I’m not a teenager anymore. So I’ve become ineligible for a lot of contests I’ve submitted to before. But I don’t feel like an adult either. I’m not a professional writer.

I have a ton of poems I’d like to get published somewhere. Hopefully, something works out.

In addition to my creative writing, I’ll try to write an essay every now and then for scholarships. I’m still a student. I graduate next year though, which kind of freaks me out.

I love but also hate not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Nevertheless, I’m excited to see what’s in store.

These days, I feel more motivated. I want to do more and do better.

If I want to have something to show the world, first I need to show up.


Using Feedback From Professors And Teachers

So I finally brought myself to check some of the feedback I’ve gotten on my papers. I’m trying to incorporate my professors’ comments for the final essays.

It’s great when I’m on the same page as your professor. Makes my life that much easier. And a little validation doesn’t hurt either.

At least, I’m somewhat on the right track.

I don’t love my grades. Shocking, I know.

Now if only I can ace everything else.

Even though I don’t always agree with my professors, I try to see where they’re coming from. Besides, I have no patience, so I’d make a horrible teacher.

But I certainly have my personal preferences when it comes to writing. Subjectivity will be the death of me.

I ought to keep a record of the feedback professors give me. I’m sure I get similar comments all the time.

Because I’m stubborn, I tend to do what I want, regardless of whether a teacher loves my idea or not. I’d rather work on something I’m passionate about than please the person grading my work.

I try to find my own angle, put my own spin on things. When I stumble upon a diamond in the rough, I work hard on refining the idea until it shines.

I’m a little worried at how many words I have to write and edit in the next month. But I’m a writer. What’s several thousand words in 2 weeks when I’ve written 50,000 in a month?

My problem isn’t so much the mechanical or technical aspects of writing but rather the ideas and arguments. Why? I don’t always follow instructions. So I’m a rebel.

If I elect not to pursue further education after undergrad, I may never receive feedback from a teacher or professor again once I’m done. I think that’s one thing I won’t miss.


Writing An Essay In One Day

Instead of having one week to write an essay, I had one day. I don’t know how I managed, but I did. Somehow.

Thankfully, the paper wasn’t too long. I wrote during the day. I took short breaks in between writing the first draft. At night, I edited the essay a few times before submitting it.

At least, this wasn’t an essay for school. It was for a scholarship.

I saved the wrong date. I put in the day winners would be selected rather than the deadline for submission. So I thought I had seven days. But then I checked and realized I only had one. Safe to say, I never want this to happen again.

Of course, it wasn’t the best essay I’ve ever written, but I’m happy with how the paper turned out.

Lesson learned. I should be more careful when noting down dates. Also, next time I’ll check well in advance to see if the deadline is still the same or has changed.

Present me wasn’t pleased with past me. So much for being meticulous.


Write First, Research Later

I like to write before I research. At the minimum, I brainstorm ideas I have first and look for sources later. This is how I’ve written most of my essays in university.

Even though finding research that supports my argument takes time, knowing my stance in advance stops me from researching for too long.

I’m someone who doesn’t know what I think until I write my thoughts down on paper. Only after do I have more clarity.

I’ve found the better I know what I want to say, the less time I need to conduct research. When I’m lost, I’ll spend way too much time reading articles and not enough time writing essays.

I find the sources I want to use, find the quotes I want to include, and find I’m halfway there. Besides, half the battle lies in researching.

Writing isn’t so bad once I’m in the flow state. That lovely, blissful place where words flow from your fingers onto the computer. I quite enjoy drafting a paper during the early stages.

For me at least, editing is the other half of the battle. First drafts are messy. They require a lot of time and attention to make them better.

So when the first draft reaches the final stage, I feel a sense of satisfaction. Creating something great from nothing is an achievement in and of itself.

I guess my advice to other students is to write first, research later. Come up with ideas and figure out what you’re interested in writing about. Then find evidence to support your argument.

Of course, this isn’t the only way to approach essay writing. I’m not suggesting that write first, research later is a hard and fast rule you should follow all the time.

Still, if you feel stuck at any point, have a brainstorm session without referring to any external resources.

To quote one of my old teachers, “use the gray matter between your ears.”


Six Essays In Six Weeks

I’ve been procrastinating on the six essays I need to write. Funny how it works out to one being due every week. Not to mention a quiz, an article analysis, a grammar test, a take home test, a final term test, and other assessments I’m probably forgetting thrown in for good measure. My brain only has the capacity to store so much information. Similarly, I only have so much creativity. Let’s not start with my sanity, okay?

It’s overwhelming. I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know what to work on first. I don’t know how I have that many writing assignments.

For me, starting is always the hardest part. The beginning is bad for my productivity. But once I start brainstorming and writing, I tend to procrastinate less. It’s getting over that initial phase where I realize I should start and actually starting which is tough.

Also, a few days ago, I thought I only had four essays. Then earlier today I counted five. But in writing this post I finally figured out I was wrong all along. I have six essays left and they’re all due within a six week span of time.

That’s knowledge I didn’t want to acquire.

Good luck to me.


My Essay Writing Process

  1. Freak out.
  2. Freak out some more.
  3. Start to brainstorm.
  4. Generate many ideas.
  5. Hate most ideas.
  6. Pick the best worst idea.
  7. Shrug once.
  8. Scrap said idea for a better one.
  9. Try to outline.
  10. Fail to outline.
  11. Attempt to write a first draft.
  12. Edit first draft before it’s written.
  13. Write enough words to meet the word count.
  14. Delete unnecessary words.
  15. Squint at word count.
  16. Write more words.
  17. Realize there are too many words.
  18. Kill my darlings.
  19. Submit the poorly written essay.
  20. Celebrate by crying.

​​​​Do’s And Don’ts of Writing An Essay

In honour of finishing my last essay for this school year, I’m publishing a post on writing essays. Don’t you love my logic?

Thanks my own decisions and the education system, I have (very minimal) experience writing essays. And despite that lovely experience, I still suck. My lack of skill isn’t about to change anytime soon. So you better question everything you read from me. I don’t hold myself accountable for any bad essays and/or bad marks as a result of your following my advice.

Do brainstorm, outline, etc.

Despite my inclination to write novels without outlining beforehand, I don’t think it’s easy to write an entire essay from start to finish without at least a general idea of what you’re writing about. Sure you could write a draft as a way of exploring what you want to say and how you want to say it. However, writing an entire paper without an outline is like exploring a city without a map. But worse. And harder. Probably not as fun either.

Don’t assume or guess.

Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t be that guy or girl who thinks they know something when they don’t. Don’t be someone who assumes they’re right but is far from it. Just don’t. Educate yourself. Fact check. Be smart. If you can’t be smart, at least play the part. In other words, don’t be me.

Do the necessary reading(s)/research.

You might find gaps in your research as you’re writing. You may have to reread an article you’ve already read as you work away. That’s okay. What isn’t okay is being wildly unprepared. Would you travel somewhere without doing a bit of reading or researching of the country?

Don’t cry; don’t lie.

Again, don’t be me. Besides, crying wastes your precious time. Thinking of writing an essay like going on a journey.

This blog post is my way of subliminally and not so subtly shouting at you from my desk. Clearly I want to get out of this city. Anyone want to fund me?

School · Writing

Advice On Writing A Paper If You Have More Than One Day

Advice On Writing A Paper If You Have More Than One Day

For those times you have more than one day to write an essay. At least you didn’t procrastinate that much.

Starting is half the battle. Finishing is the other.

Make a plan.

Know what you need to do and when you need to do it by. Planning is life. Plans are death. Especially plans that change. Life throws you a surprise party? Take it in stride.

Space it out.

Research the first day. Outline the second. Write the third. You left more than two days, didn’t you?

Reward yourself well.

You wrote a draft? You made some edits? Bake your cake and eat it too. Or Netflix and chill by yourself.

Ask for feedback.

Ten words from someone you respect is more meaningful than one hundred words from someone you don’t.

Do something else.

Live for once. Read a book. Take a bath. Go to sleep. Your sanity is worth more than an assignment any day of the week.

If you don’t have as much time, I recommend reading Advice On Writing A Paper In One Day.