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Essay-writing process a challenge

Column by Stephanie Kocer

Stephanie Kocer Columnist-w800-h800When you start your paper, you will be excited and energized about it. Hey, you like the class and what you’ve been talking about. You thought reading Carl Marx for the hundredth time was sort of interesting this time. You’ve got a lovely prompt from the professor that tells you exactly what they expect you to write about. Yes, this will be easy. You just have to find the time to sit down and write.

Find out what materials you want to use for sources. Do you have to do research? That will be easy. Let’s look at that prompt again. It has to be how long? Ten pages isn’t that bad. After all, you’re an English major, and you’ve done this before.

Now that I have my outline, I can take a break. I’ll start writing later.

I have plenty of time to write this paper, but I should really start on it now (after three days of not looking at your notes). Wow, I sure did take a lot of great notes. I have plenty of time before this is due. This can wait until the weekend. I think there’s a show on I want to watch tonight anyway.

I really need to start this paper (The weekend before it’s due). I wonder if anyone else in my class has started their paper? I’ll text my friend. She hasn’t started either.

I will go to the library. Oh wow, I made a great outline. I’m so good at this whole paper-writing thing. I’ve got this. Actually, I don’t remember what I meant by half of these notes in my outline. Am I really that smart? Do outside research? Who has time for that? I’ll make a new outline. One that is less ambitious.

OK. I am really going to start writing this time. My intro looks good so far. Now, where can I fit my thesis in? What is my thesis again? I’ll just leave that part until the end.

Page two! Those extra spaces at the top were such a great decision. Now for my first quote. Everything is looking good. I’ll quote this material from class and then talk a little about it. How long can I make this point last? Another paragraph at least.

I really need to take up more space if I’m going to make the page count. I need to find an extremely long quote. I’m talking paragraph size. This is where that outside research would have come in handy, but there’s no time for that now.

What in the world am I talking about again? Seriously, what is my point in this paper? I’ll go look at my thesis again. Oh that’s right, I haven’t made one yet.

Does any of this make sense? Why can’t I be as smart as I was when I made that outline? I don’t even like this class. The professor is kind of awful, too. Why would they make us write something like this?

What are the questions our paper should answer again? I’ll check the prompt. What? It has to be how long? Crap. Better find another long quote. How long is too long of a quote?

OK, I think I’m almost done. It’s shaped out to be pretty decent actually. Let’s go back and proofread. What? What did I mean by that? I think I used the wrong form of “their” like three times already. Why does that always happen? OK I actually sounded like a scholar in that last paragraph. Go me.

Did I answer all of the prompt questions? I guess I almost did. Man, I’m tired. What time is it? I’ve been in the library for how long? This paper is definitely done. I cannot sit here anymore. I think my eyes might fall out of my face from staring at this laptop for so long.

It’s done! I’ve finally finished! I think it turned out better than I expected. I just hope my professor will like it. They probably won’t, but who cares? I’m finally done.

Let me proofread one more time. Crap. I forgot a “Works Cited” page. And it still needs a thesis. I’ll figure that out later.

Kocer is a junior magazines and English double major and can be reached at stephanie.kocer@drake.edu

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