In Cal’s words, the flat outline works as follows: Isn’t this so much better?
The flat outline works because it mirrors the writing process.
Today, I’m going to share this process so that you too can write papers more quickly (without a decrease in the quality of your writing). Don’t be afraid to ask the professor to explain any part of the assignment that’s unclear.
If the assignment seems vague, it’s not because the professor is trying to trip you up.
To overcome the temptation to procrastinate on research, I employ my favorite approach for beating all forms of procrastination: setting a time limit.
As I explained in my guide to library research, you shouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes per page of the final paper researching.
Once you understand the assignment, you need to start researching. If you’re not careful, research can be one of the best ways to procrastinate.
“One more source” can easily turn into hours that you could have been writing.
After all, writing a paper isn’t like working math problems or reading a chapter of a book.
As frustrating as those activities can be, they always seemed more finite than the monumental task of “writing a paper.” You can’t just open the book and start working: you have to brainstorm, research, outline, draft, edit, and add those pesky citations.