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Nov 28 2015
by Mia Renee Cole

Tips on Getting Through the Night Writing a Paper

By Mia Renee Cole - Nov 28 2015

You've been trying your best to avoid it for nearly a month now. You don't want to face it in the fear that it will finally defeat you. That's right, you have an English paper due, and it's due tomorrow. Wow, time flies by quickly! What are you going to do? Well, in college you only have one choice: get that baby pumped out overnight. Though it can be a dreaded mission, it's something that you can successfully do with a couple of pre-planned thoughts and actions.

Disclaimer: these tips do not guarantee an A. In fact, writing a paper overnight most certainly does not guarantee an A.

1. Have a plan.

You've been putting off this paper for too long, but you're bound to have found time to at least plan how you're going to get it written overnight. It doesn't have to be thorough or detailed, just a plan on how you're actually gonna do it. When and how many breaks you'll take, what snacks you'll have, what you're writing on, etc.

2. Schedule short breaks.

Don't simply take breaks. If you decide to just randomly "take" breaks throughout the night, you'll end up spending half of it watching your favorite series on Netflix. Instead, schedule when you'll take breaks. Every hour or half-hour, maybe? Write it out and make it official.

3. Keep snacks and drinks at hand.

Food makes everything better, so keep your favorite snacks and drinks at hand to munch on while writing. Bonus points if you choose to have healthy snacks to feed your brain with.

4. Drink lots of water!

In my opinion, the power of water is completely and totally underestimated. Water will help your brain truly wake up (in comparison to coffee) and will allow you to work more efficiently. Plus it will make you have to pee more which means more required "breaks."

5. Turn off all electronics and WiFi connections.

This is super important. In order to be efficient, you need to remove your phone and turn the WiFi off on your computer. If you need to use WiFi to aid you in writing your paper, use it BEFORE you actually sit down to do the dirty. You need no distractions whatsoever. Need music to help you concentrate? Open your iTunes library, Spotify or put in a good, old-fashioned CD.

6. Don't work in your bed.

WARNING: Beds can be so dangerous...stay away from them! Do not, under any circumstances, work in your bed. Instead, work in a rigid desk chair or at a table where you are forced to sit up and concentrate. Falling asleep is NOT allowed.

7. Outline, outline, outline!

In my previous article, I mentioned just how important it is to outline your paper, and this importance increases as the minutes dwindle down. Always start with an outline so you know where you're headed. Outlines also allow you to write more quickly and efficiently too.

8. Pick and organize any quotes and sources before sitting down to write.

Some people write all of their papers AT THE SAME TIME as they're picking what quotes to use. I will never, for the life of me, understand why someone would do that to themselves. Do yourself a favor and know what quotes your using and have the citations ready for when you actually write your paper. Having an outline while doing this will help dramatically. Picking and choosing quotes is honestly the hardest part about essay writing, so just get it over with.

9. Write your essay in parts.

No one has ever succeeded by writing their essay beginning to end in one sitting. Instead, opt to write your essay in parts, taking breaks between each one. Start with your first body paragraph, your second, third, fourth, etc. and finish by writing your introduction and conclusion. This will not only make it easier, but it will make it feel like less work as well.

10. Proofread!

You don't need an idiot to tell you to proofread a paper. Always make sure to proofread it...more than once if you can. Proofread it as you finish each part, checking for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes or simply sentence structure. The difference between proofreading and not proofreading can be an entire letter grade and we can't afford that, now can we?

Lead Image Credit: Paramount Television

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Mia Renee Cole - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Mia Renee is currently the Senior Editor with Fresh U and a student at UNC Chapel Hill, where she is studying Spanish and French. In her free time she enjoys knitting, photography and drinking hot tea while writing on her personal blog. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @miareneecole or her blog at!

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