International Writing Centers Week: Getting it Done

For our last International Writing Centers Week post, we asked tutors what they do when they really need to Get. It. Done. No matter where you are in your academic career or what kind of writing you do, you’ve surely faced a looming deadline: an essay for class, a scholarship application, a thesis proposal. So, what do our tutors do when they need to finish a writing project?

Pick the Best Environment 

When I’m writing by myself, I’ve noticed that I easily get distracted by to-do lists, interesting articles, and the like. Being in a place where other people are working, like the library or a coffee shop, helps me stay focused on my work.” -Ivy, English BA student

“I’ll usually find a spot in an on-campus building—there are some great quiet spots tucked away in some of the older buildings. Being in a setting that feels more academic helps me get work done.” -Julia, Marine Biology BS student

“I go to the library. For some reason I’m able to focus better when I’m in a context where everyone is hard at work.” -Katie, Media Arts BA student

“Music CAN help, but it can hurt as well due to distraction. Give me a window to the outside world; nothing is more important. If you can see the world outside, the thoughts will come, perhaps even flow. (Unless you’re into the whole office cubicle with no windows thing…in that case, I can’t offer any suggestions).” -Jimmy, English PhD student

“In a pinch, I make sure I’m in the most appropriate environment such that there are minimal distractions. My room usually gets the job done.” -Zack, English MA student

Create the Best Soundtrack 

“I can’t write without music in general, but for some abominable reason, blasting obnoxious pop-rock gets me into the zone. One Direction always do me right.” -Anna, Business Administration BA student

“I have a playlist of instrumental music that a theatre professor used to play in a movement class. Since I associate the songs with moving and creating, they help me keep going!” -Kayla, English BA/MA student

Phone a Friend

“I block out a couple hours and make plans to meet a friend at a cafe to work together. We hold each other accountable for getting our work done!” -Taylor, International Affairs BA student

Just Do It

“I grit my teeth and just write, even if I think it’s coming out really badly. You can cut and edit later if you need to, so just getting something down on the page can often get me through the rest of a task.” -Abbie, English MA student

“I clear my head and clear my writing space.” -Areti, English PhD student

“If I really need to finish, I go to a very quiet place and force myself to just keep typing or writing, trying not to stop. I’ll end up with a lot of sentences that I can go back and turn into something coherent, and then edit, add, or delete until I have something that I’m happy with.” – Lisa, English and Journalism BA student

Whatever Works

“I try to read what I’ve already written out loud to myself. It helps me feel the momentum of what I’m working on and motivates me to keep it going.” -Lauren, English PhD student




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