I was an English major, and I still found myself dreading writing assignments for class from time to time. It makes sense that most students dislike the writing process; every professor has different expectations, and let’s face it, writing is hard. But even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, there are some techniques that might make the process a bit more bearable — and who knows? You may even find yourself enjoying it.
• Choose subjects you enjoy: Depending on the length of your assignment, you’re going to spend anything from hours to days working on a paper. If you choose a subject you’re really passionate about, there’s less of a chance you’ll want to throw your laptop out the window. Find something you not only find interesting, but will sustain your interest from the introduction to the conclusion.
• Write outside of class: It’s about as cliche as it gets, but the saying is painfully true when it comes to writing: “Practice makes perfect.” If you can’t motivate yourself to write on your own, consider joining a club that encourages writing; writing for the school newspaper or literary magazine, for example, is an opportunity to flex and improve your writing skills in a fun, productive way.
• Don’t do it alone: Some people work best holed up in their dorm room, but writing can be a whole lot more exciting when you make it an interactive, social experience. Talk about your paper with a friend and read each other’s work; you’ll find yourself much more inspired after engaging with someone else. If possible, share your draft with your professor before it’s due. He or she can provide constructive feedback and help you create a paper you’re really proud of.
• Find a writing tutor: See if your school offers one-on-one writing assistance (many do). If not, work with a TA or peer you trust. Develop a solid working relationship and meet regularly throughout the writing process. He or she will be able to track your progress and determine where your strenghts and weaknesses lie. Writing tutors don’t just help you improve; they’re also experts at making writing enjoyable.
• Take pride in your writing: Everyone is capable of being a “good writer.” Some people are more naturally inclined to the craft than others, but anyone can get there with hard work (think about it: there have been art and music prodigies, but have you ever heard of a writing prodigy?). Even if you’re not as strong a writer as the English major sitting next to you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proud of the work you produce. Keep track of your improvement, and you’ll be amazed and proud of how much you can succeed.