Tackling Your Essay-Writing Demons

Part of the Writing Essays For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Turn those little negative thoughts about essays around. You may feel self-conscious about your writing style or apprehensive about those large word counts, but rethinking those depressing thoughts can help you to see the situation in a whole new light and give you a confidence.

If you think . . . Tell yourself . . .
When I hand in my essay, I’ll be exposed as an imbecile who should never have come to university. You won your place at university fairly and squarely and have a right to be there. Many other students are feeling exactly the same as you!
Writing’s such a solitary business –how do I cope? You have lots of people to talk to! You can discuss assignments with your tutor and your classmates, and although only you write up the final product, you have lots of opportunities for supporting one another along the way.
How on earth can I produce assignments of, say, 3,000 words? You can break any big task down into chunks, and writing’s no different; it’s completely manageable and everyone can do it in the end.
I don’t know all the academic words for things, and what I write sounds childish. You’re here to learn, and through reading and attending lectures you pick up the jargon. You’ll soon start writing like an expert!
I can’t write anything original. As an undergrad, you don’t necessarily have to. You read and acknowledge the work of other writers and researchers who’ve been there before you and comment on what they’ve written in your own way and in your own words. Originality can come later (when you’re doing your PhD or heading for a Nobel Prize).
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