college paper

college paper

How to Bust Through Writer’s Block

writers-blockMost students have encountered writer’s block while working on a paper. Sometimes stress or our fears about writing can leave us immobilized. But you don’t need to feel paralyzed by a white screen and a blinking cursor. Here are ten tips to help you cure writer’s block.

1. Identify the problem.

If you don’t know how to proceed while working on a paper, it’s good to pin-point the problem. Are you having difficulties starting? Is your paper too short? Are you having trouble organizing your thoughts? Are you worried about how your paper will be received? Figuring out your stumbling block will help you know how to proceed.

2. Is it really writers block or is it procrastination?

Sometimes students label avoidance “writer block” when they really just don’t feel like working on a paper. Just sitting down to start can be enough to get over this problem. Even if you don’t think your ideas are fully formed or polished, start to type them out.

3. Get scratch paper.

Fear can be a cause of writer’s block, particularly when the paper is for an important grade. One way to get over this fear is to start writing in a format that your professor or peers will never see, like on scrap paper or in a notebook. Writing out notes can also help you organize your thoughts.

4. Talk it out.

Sometimes we know what we want to write, but not how to write it. For some people, a verbal discussion can clarify your thoughts. Talk about your paper topic with a classmate, professor, or even a parent. They may even be able to suggest something you haven’t considered.

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10 Good Reasons to Never, Ever Plagiarize A College Paper

When I was a professor, I was pretty lenient with my students. I let students turn in things late if they had a decent excuse, and bent lots of other rules as well.  But there was one rule where I never exercised leniency with students, and that was plagiarism.  If I could prove that a student had plagiarized a paper, that was an automatic failure for the course and a report to the dean’s office.  End of story.

Why was I so serious about plagiarism?  Because plagiarism is seriously wrong.  Here are ten good reasons why students should avoid plagiarism:

1) It’s stealing and lying. Stealing and lying are wrong, remember?  Stealing someone else’s words and putting your own name on these words is wrong.  And even if you have permission from the original author to do this, you’re still lying to your teacher.  This isn’t exactly an ethically gray area.

2) Writing skills. You need them.  Trust me.  Jobs where you don’t need to know how to be a proficient writer are few and far between these days.  Writing assignments teach two things: first, whatever it is that the course is about, but second and perhaps more importantly, writing assignments are about writing practice.

3) Consequences.  Check your school’s policies about plagiarism.  It might involve failing an assignment, failing a class, or worse.  Usually, getting caught cheating multiple times means suspension or expulsion.  It’s not worth it. Read the rest of this entry »


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