If you think you suck at writing papers, you might just be overestimating yourself.
You might be thinking you can just write a paper at any time, like robocop or something. But the person needs time to read and think. There is no such thing as just sitting down to write a paper.
The person needs to read, breathe, and think. Do not try to make the person write a paper. Accommodate the person with these methods (below).
Strategies used by professional research paper writers:
Do not try to come up with an idea for your essay. Begin by reading an article. Feed the main idea of the article into your brain, and think about it. If the article is really terrible, close that tab and look at a different article. But do not sit down and try to write an essay without reading something first, to feed the fire.
Let’s be clear about what you are being asked to do when you write a research paper/essay. The challenge is to simply share one idea. That’s it. If you want to write a good essay, the reader has to be able to discern the main message you’re trying to send. You will not know that message when you begin. You will only know that message after you form an opinion about the essay topic. You can only form an opinion if you read a few articles. So, sit back, relax, and really enjoy reading an article about the essay topic.
Do not read 10 articles. Read one article. When you have read one article, read one more. But never think about reading lots of articles. It is impossible to read lots of articles in any moment.
In this moment and in any moment, there can be only one article.
Find out the author’s message. What is the main idea? Usually, you can find the main idea in the introduction and the conclusion. Write a sentence to tell about the author’s idea and what it means about the topic. That will be a paragraph topic sentence. Write a few more sentences to explain what you mean, or give an example, and you’ve knocked out a whole paragraph.
If you write a research paper, it usually involves quantitative and qualitative, empirical/original research articles. When you are writing about research articles, the main idea consists of the research design and the research findings (an oversimplification, but it makes this stuff more manageable).
It takes a moment for the mind to make sense of sentences. You can relax, and wait for the brain to respond to what it is reading. There’s no need to keep the person reading continuously. Just let go and relax. Read one sentence of an article, and stop until your mind produces an idea about it.
Stare at the period at the end of the sentence, and wait for my mind to respond to what I just read. You can feel the mind shift when the person has internalized the meaning of the sentence.
The paper you are writing is made of the articles you read, combined with your own ideas that arise in the mind.
Paste the article into a word document, so you can highlight some sentences, bold some words. Underline, enlarge, or change the font. Interact with the article in any way you can. Wait for your own ideas to arise.
How many ideas does it take to support the main idea of a paper? If you’re writing a 2,000-word paper you need about 14-18 paragraphs. The first and last paragraph will express the main idea of the essay, and then you’ll have 12-16 paragraphs to support the main idea. Each of those 16 paragraphs can begin with a Paragraph Topic Sentence expressing an idea that tells something (it can be almost anything) about the essay topic.
Read a research article, and type a paragraph to tell about the research design and the findings. This sentence will be a paragraph topic sentence. You can complete the paragraph by typing a few more sentences to explain that idea. You should also include a sentence about any criticism you want to give to the idea. If you see a flaw in the author’s reasoning, point it out! This is just like an ordinary conversation. In this way, it’s easy to type up a paragraph while you read.
I use two screens, so I can read on one screen and type on another.
I read, think carefully about the author’s message, and then I listen to see what my mind thinks about it.
Each paragraph = 1 idea expressed in the first sentence (Paragraph Topic Sentence). When you have written several body paragraphs, you will suddenly think of something. You will think of an idea you want to share about the topic, and this will become the main idea of the whole essay.
Type a sentence about it at the end of the first paragraph. Sometimes, I have to read a lot of articles. If I’m in a hurry, I just read the first line of each paragraph. I work for a lot of different people taking different classes. I must never let myself try to multitask. I always need to do one thing at a time. Go slow. Pay attention! This one is important. I’ll say it again: Go slow. You will make faster progress if you go slow. It is the damndest thing. Counterintuitive. You have a deadline approaching fast, but you must not think about it. Go into the quiet mind and just sit with the concepts.
Sit with the topic of this article the person is reading. Ahh.. I am not trying to write a paper. I can only write a paper if I go very slow. Sometimes clients don’t understand, but they just have to wait. I will finish the paper when my mind slows down enough to write it.
Enjoy sharing ideas while you use the person to write the paper. In this state of mind, you are not the person. You are the one who is having this experience. The person is part of the experience.
It’s not okay to write a paper in a room where someone is watching television. Don’t do that to yourself, it’s so awful. You need to enter a very sensitive, open state of mind if you want to write. Do not expose yourself to commercials and other awful background sound.
Read twice. The first time you read something, the mind makes sense of it. Read it again if you want to use any of it later. Don’t pretend the person has some kind of superhuman memory. For example, you might take a breath, scroll up, and skim through this article one more time from start to finish. Notice how much more you remember. When you read something only once, you miss an opportunity to really retain the most useful information. If you are serious about actually applying these methods, go ahead and read them again. Again and again. Return to the top of the page, and remember to enjoy this stuff. It’s the only way.