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  • Abigail Lake

How To Write Multiple Papers At The Same Time

Hey there, it’s Annie! This spring semester is flying by so quickly! I can’t believe we already had our spring break (day…) and are halfway through the entire semester. Since we’re getting closer to the end of the semester, you’re probably noticing that you have a lot of assignments due soon. I know how difficult it can be to juggle multiple assignments at the same time, especially if some of those assignments are writing assignments. So, I asked Abigail Lake, a Writing Center tutor, to give some advice on writing multiple papers at the same time.

Abigail Lake, Writing Center Tutor

If at some point you haven’t thought that all your professors were secretly conspiring against you, making every big paper due at once, you’re one of the lucky ones. Writing more than one paper at a time is so difficult. I mean, I love to write, but it’s not like studying for a multiple choice test or creating a powerpoint. Writing, in my experience, takes a lot more strategy and focus, and writing one paper at a time is its own challenge! What about two? Or THREE? Well, if you’re in that situation now or you see it rapidly approaching, I have a few tips that might save you a headache or two… or three.

Check, and Double Check Those Dates!

When I look at my class agendas and slowly, painfully begin to realize that multiple papers will inevitably cross paths, I head over to my trusty wall calendar and mark when each of them is due. Even if you’re already in the process of writing, it's still a good idea to mark down those dates. With multiple essays, classes, and due dates, it can be tough to keep them all straight in your head, and knowing them ahead of time can help you prioritize what to work on and when. I recommend posting them somewhere easily accessible, like the wall behind your desk or on your bathroom mirror, so you don’t have to root through all of your assignment sheets every time you need to double check that due date.

Write down the due dates of each paper in an easily accessible place!

Set a Comfortable Pace

Once you’ve got your dates in order, you should set daily goals for yourself so you can get everything done on time. Find a pace that works for you! I prefer to work in short bursts over a longer period, so I usually set aside 4-5 days for a normal essay. I reserve the first day or two for prep work (research, outlines, interviews), the middle days for writing, and the last day for editing/proofreading. For multiple papers, I’ll add a few extra days and, if possible, try to space out the times of day I work on each. For example, if I work on paper “A” in the morning, I’ll work on paper “B” in the late afternoon. If your schedule doesn’t offer that luxury and you don’t want to force yourself to write for several hours straight, try to stagger the steps of each paper so you’re working on different things. Write a few paragraphs for paper “A”, then switch over to researching for paper “B”. Experiment a little to find out which approach you like best!

Find a pace that works well with your writing style!

Don’t Keep Putting Things Off

To help illustrate this next tip, here’s a completely hypothetical scenario: it’s a sunny Friday afternoon. You have some free time, and you plan to use it to start writing one of your papers. But suddenly, you remember that a new episode of WandaVision came out today! “Well, I can spare 30 minutes, right?” you think to yourself. Before you know it, thirty minutes has turned into an hour-long Google session on the Marvel multiverse. There goes your writing time!

Don’t let this 100% fictional story become your reality. If you keep pushing things off, all your papers will pile up into a huge unmanageable mess. You might be able to write one paper the night before (which I don’t recommend), but three? Trust me, it’s best not to procrastinate. WandaVision will still be there when I’m-- I mean, when YOU are done writing.

Take time to finish your papers, instead of avoiding your work!

Take a Break

Sometimes, you have to push yourself a little harder and make sacrifices when you have multiple papers to write, but there’s a difference between wanting to procrastinate and needing a break. Forcing yourself to keep working when you just can’t take it anymore isn’t going to help you or your essay. Even if you’re in a time crunch, try stepping away for just thirty minutes. That might be all it takes to kick your brain back into gear.

And remember, you can always bring your papers to the Writing Center! We’re more than happy to help you with any (or all) of your writing assignments at any stage of the writing process!

Stop by the Writing Center to get help on any (or all) of your writing assignments!

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