Writing isn’t exactly a walk in the park even for people who use it to make a living – be it best-selling authors or professional copywriters. So if you’ve had to struggle with an assignment because you just couldn’t write the paper, don’t be too hard on yourself. Writing may be challenging, but it’s something you can improve on with lots of practice.
The idea is to develop good writing habits and write more consistently while following strategies to improve writing skills. This will eventually help you become much better at writing in general so you no longer have to be terrified of writing for college papers.
What Makes Writing Consistent?
There are two habits you need to form in order to write consistently:
- The habit of writing regularly to improve your skills
- The habit of maintaining cohesion and clarity in what you write
To nail down the latter, you need to practice the first. Before that, however, you should also understand what makes writing consistent as it’s one of the main things that will improve your overall writing quality.
Point of View
In academic writing, you typically have to use third person point of view as it helps maintain a formal tone. Make sure you use the same point of view consistently throughout your essay.
Maintain a parallel (or similar) grammatical structure throughout the sentence and especially in successive verbal constructions. For instance, structure your list as “swimming, dancing, cycling and cooking” instead of “swimming, dance, cycling and to cook.”
Your use of punctuation should be similar throughout the essay. For example, if you’re using the Oxford comma, make sure you use it consistently throughout the essay. The same goes for hyphens as well.
Understanding the Different Types of Writing in College
Next, make sure you understand what types of writing you’ll typically have to deal with in college.
Depending on this, the style and tone of your paper will vary to some extent. So if you’re going to learn how to write consistently for your assignments, you’ll need a clear idea of which style and tone you need to maintain depending on the type of writing required.
Also known as persuasive essays, this type of writing involves presenting an argument and backing it up with logical claims and studies. For instance, you could argue that a certain type of food could cause sleeplessness and back it up with related research.
Narrative essays or descriptive essays involve describing something such as the results of an experiment or a personal experience. For instance, you could describe how you conducted a study on a certain type of food and observed people’s reactions to it.
In a research or analytical essay, you use your writing to analyze a topic closely and build up on it with your own opinions and ideas. For example, you could analyze how a certain type of food affects people’s sleep and whether maintaining proper sleep hygiene changes that.
5 Tips to Write Consistently for Your Assignments
Now let’s move on to another major challenge for college students – being able to write consistently for your assignments. It’s hard to deliver the same writing quality with the same level of enthusiasm for all of your assignments. Some topics you may not be too enthusiastic about while others may be just plain challenging.
Here are a few tips that will help you learn how to write more consistently for all of your assignments.
1: Create the Perfect Writing Environment
Your writing environment makes a lot of difference in how well you can focus on the assignment. So if you’re going to write more effectively, you need to start by creating the right environment for it. Here are a few tips to do that:
- Pick a place that allows minimal distraction – whether it’s in your room or in the library.
- Make sure it’s comfortable so you can really focus on your writing rather than say, on the incessant backache from sitting on an uncomfortable chair.
- Put on a playlist that helps you write – whether you enjoy some hip-hop or you prefer classical music.
- Make sure you have all your supplies ready such as your charger and your notes. You could even prepare snacks and coffee or tea so you don’t have to get up too many times and disrupt your writing flow.
2: Organize Your Writing Process
Writing more effectively and consistently also requires organizing your writing process.
This helps you take a structured approach in your writing so that it doesn’t go all over the place. It also helps you meet your goals and deadlines more easily.
Here are some essential tips to organize your writing process:
- Start by clearly understanding what you have to write about and what’s expected of you from this assignment.
- Use this understanding to map out your ideas and visualize what you plan to write.
- Set aside enough time to thoroughly research the topic and identify points to support your thesis.
- Create a clear outline to organize your initial ideas into a more structured flow.
- Maintain a calendar for each assignment, setting aside separate blocks of time to work on the different aspects of your paper. For instance, you could plan to do finish idea mapping, researching and outlining on Monday. You could then set aside Tuesday for drafting, Wednesday for revision and so on.
- Create an editing checklist to make sure that you’re following the assignment specifications and required formatting. Use the same checklist to detect common grammar mistakes and brush up on your writing flow.
3: Take Advantage of Writing Tools and Resources
One of the best ways to improve writing is by making use of tools and resources that will help you perfect your skills. This could be anything from tools to check your grammar to tools that provide tips on how to write more concisely.
4: Don’t Edit Alone
It’s easy to have tunnel vision when you’ve worked on a paper for so long. So although you must revise and do a self-edit of your assignment, it’s also crucial that you have someone else look at it before you submit.
You could have a friend, a professor or even a writing coach to read it first and provide feedback. Use this feedback to look for tips on editing a paper and perfecting it before you’re ready to submit it.
5: Work with a Writing Tutor
While it’s perfectly fine to practice on your own and learn how to write consistently, you could speed up the process by working with a writing tutor.
Having a writing coach to guide you through the process will make it easier to identify your weaknesses and quickly correct them. A writing tutor will not only help you work on your grammar but also provide you with tips on how to write more clearly and concisely.
On top of this, a personal writing tutor will personalize your lessons so as to focus on the kind of writing you want to improve on the most. So for instance, while you could have an academic writing tutor to help you learn how to write compelling research papers, you could also find a tutor to help you improve your creative writing skills.
Bonus Tips to Nurture Good Writing Habits
When learning how to write consistently for your assignments, don’t forget that it’s not just about improving your academic writing skills but your writing skills in general. This will set you up for success beyond the academic world as well, while making it easier to perfect your writing for college papers.
To work on your general writing skills, you need to develop good writing habits and practice regularly with daily writing exercises. This is important because the more you write, the better you get at putting your ideas down on paper and maintaining a flow that’s easy to follow.
Here are a few tips to help you nurture the habit of writing and improve your writing skills:
Write Every Day
Make it a habit to write every day. It could even be just one paragraph or an entire page, but the idea is to write so regularly that it comes naturally to you. The more natural writing is to you, the less you’ll struggle to write down your ideas and develop them into a compelling essay.
Use Daily Writing Prompts for Inspiration
A good way to engage in daily writing exercises is by using writing prompts for inspiration. It could be just a word, a feeling, a theme, a period in history, a picture or even a color, as long as it gives you something to write about.
Keep a Dream Journal
Writing down your dream can be a great way to practice descriptive writing for narrative essays because dreams can be hard to describe. The more you practice describing them, the easier it’ll be to describe other experiences. You could write down what you saw in your dream, how it made you feel, what you thought immediately after waking up and so on.
Write Letters to Friends and Family
Another great way to develop the habit of writing is by taking up good old-fashioned letter-writing as a hobby. If you’re away in college, you could regularly write letters to your family or your friends at home. You could also join pen pal communities and send letters to someone in another country.
Build Consistency Into Your Daily Writing Practice
Now you have everything you need to brush up on your writing skills and learn how to write consistently for your college assignments. Consider checking The Wyzant Blog’s resources for writing. Don’t forego working with a writing coach to further perfect your skills – even skilled professional writers utilize outside help to continue honing their craft.