Writing with Chaos ~ Christopher Craft
When I start to write a paper I just start typing until my thoughts form into a cohesive train. Even if what I write has nothing to do with the paper I am writing. It may be a transcript of which ever show is on. For instance this paper started out with my typing the first view minutes of a nineties sitcom. The method in which I write may seem like a chaotic mess, but it is my method, and I can see the order in the disorder. When I attempt to plan, contemplate, or ponder a piece, then I will inevitably overthink it and nuke the assignment. There are different methods in my madness though. If it is a research piece, then I will do all the research in one to two days, and leave it alone. That includes any book reading, video watching, etc. Then I will return to it about three days before the deadline and hammer out a rough draft in three to four hours, including works cited page. Or if it is an opinion piece I will typically write it the day before the due date. In both these instances I will email my paper to friends and family who have degrees in English, or teach college level English. To help me pick up any overlooked grammar, or typo errors. Then I will make whatever corrections they provide. Throughout the process I will have Netflix, or music streaming, to help me tune out the world.
My first bit of advice to first year college students, is to know yourself. I am aware it sounds cliché; however that is the truth. If you know you need to have snacks, like Kate Burgess, or have to have detailed notes with color coded sticky tabs, or in my case utter chaos to work then do it. Do not let the stress of writing a paper, or the pressure to fit into society’s perfect college student mold, cause you to become over whelmed, and stressed out. I’ve personally been there and done that. I let the perceived expectation of what a college student is supposed to be overwhelm me, cause me to give up on college before. Now I am older, perhaps not wiser, but I do not care so much of what others think of me. I care about what I can do for my family. My method seems to work for me as I am getting A’s and B’s this go around. Do not be afraid to experiment with your style. Find the path that works for you.
My final bit of advice is have fun. You are paying for it, or maybe your parents are. Enjoy the experience. When learning becomes a job that you have to do, then stress will set in. Learning may not always be a blast, but it should always be an enjoyable experience. Life is hard enough without the added stress of trying to do everything perfectly. Have fun and enjoy the journey. If the paper seems too hard, go have a break, and smell the roses.