Have you ever sat down to begin your paper and felt like it just wasn’t quite the right time to begin/continue/finish writing it? If you haven’t, I applaud your ability to just sit down and write. You just might be a writing superhuman. If you have, I’m right there with you.
How many times in our own lives have we put off doing things because it just wasn’t the right time? We don’t chase our dreams because it’s not the right time, we say we’ll do it when we have more money/no kids to take care of/the courage to explore. This is similar to writing.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there will never be a right time for anything. But does this mean we should hold off on doing the things we need to do? Absolutely not. You can’t wait around for it to be the right time, you just got to do it. So maybe it’s a Tuesday night and you have a history paper due on Thursday. A billion things probably sound better than sitting down and writing that paper (Netflix, Twitter, looking up cute dogs to adopt). There’s no guarantee that Wednesday will be the right time to write this paper either.
So I urge you to go to your favorite place to write whether that be your dorm room, the local library, your kitchen table, or in a lawn chair on top of your favorite hill. Gather some snacks (be careful with the Cheetos though, they tend to cause mysterious, dusty orange fingertips) and some water. And with your laptop or pencil and paper in tow, go make it the time to write.
A common mistake that I’ve noticed a lot of writers doing lately is mixing up affect and effect. Here is a quick guide to using the two words correctly:
What do they mean?
Affect = Usually a verb meaning to produce a change in, or influence something
Effect = Usually a noun meaning the result or change that occurred
When should I use affect?
– As a verb when trying to describe influencing someone or something
– As a noun only when describing a facial expression
When should I use effect?
– when talking about a result
– if the following words are used right before the word “effect”: into, on, take, the, any, an, or and.
– to describe something that was caused
Some examples of using affect and effect correctly:
Screaming goats affect their sleeping neighbors.
Kristen Stewart had a flat affect throughout the Twilight saga.
What effect did the release of Beyonce’s new album have on fans?
The new Nick Jonas pictures had a positive effect on his female fans.
Making awkward puns has had a negative effect on my social standing.
Many words are easily confused like affect and effect (its, it’s, there, their, there, your, you’re). One tip for writing is to circle these words if you feel unsure about their usage. Look up the grammar guidelines or ask a trusted friend to check your usage!
Don’t panic; come to the Writing Center!
It’s 4:15 and I have nothing. Nothing written down for a paper that I’m supposed to get feedback on in the Writing Center in 30 minutes. Like the professional procrastinator I am, I jot down some notes on the assignment sheet. By the time I leave, there are some measly bullet points for a research paper about a pioneer in the nursing career.
Upon arriving at the Writing Center, I meet my consultant, Eric Hoffman. I inform him of my lack of formal writing immediately as a warning, but he just laughs and says that he has done the same thing. I instantly begin to feel relief in the idea that I’m not all alone in my procrastinating ways. As we begin to sift through different sources for my pioneer in nursing (Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail – yes there were numerous chuckles over her unique name!), I feel a lot better about the impending paper itself. Eric gives me ideas on how to construct a thesis as well as writing down various sources I can use to get more information about my Native American Nurse. The session flows nicely and I forget that just an hour ago, I was in a state of “procrastinator panic” (side effects include sweaty palms, the desire to throw in the towel, and the incisive need for napping as a solution).
This trip to the writing consultant as a writer made me realize the type of consultant I want to be. Understanding, honest, caring, and funny are the traits I’d like to incorporate, having been inspired by a certain consultant who represents all these and much more.
I now openly proclaim my troubles with procrastination but no longer do I see it as a disability. I see it as a way to connect to writers who do the same thing. And together we can work on a cure for our need to wait until the absolute possible last-minute. Together, we can write and write well.