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Starting in college, I developed my own outlining technique that was much more effective.As it turns out, my technique wasn’t so original after all.
Even as someone who basically writes papers for a living these days (like this article), I still viewed every college paper with a tinge of dread.
After all, writing a paper isn’t like working math problems or reading a chapter of a book.
Remember: asking for clarification because you don’t understand the assignment doesn’t make you stupid; what’s stupid is to complete the assignment without understanding it.
Yet, when I was an English TA in college, I saw this problem all the time.
Best case scenario, the professor is nice and lets you rewrite it, but why do all that extra work?
Furthermore, asking the professor for clarification shows initiative–that you care about the assignment.
Students would spend hours researching and writing a paper on a completely different topic than what the professor assigned.
It doesn’t matter how good a paper is–if it doesn’t answer the question, it’s going to receive a bad grade.
“One more source” can easily turn into hours that you could have been writing.
To overcome the temptation to procrastinate on research, I employ my favorite approach for beating all forms of procrastination: setting a time limit.