HOW TO WRITE 20 PAGES (from one girl w/mental illness 2 the rest of u, but please keep in mind all of this is just personal Stuff That Worked for me n u might be different):
first of all, and probably most importantly, make that paper about something you actually give a shit about. if you can write an essay on how long shakespeare’s dick is when you’re talking to your friends, that’s a good topic. don’t choose something u don’t care about, you will Want To Die
“okay but the only topics are ones i don’t care about” talk 2 ur teacher 99% of the time if you’re like “here’s a well-thought-out thesis can i talk about this instead” they’re like “sure lmao i just couldn’t think of other paper topics to suggest”
“they said no” cool find the one u hate the least and try to tie it into something u like. for example i really hated this stupid paper i had to write about a stupid book so i ended up writing about the food inside the book and whether or not it was a historically accurate depiction of food. turns out i fucking love talking about food. i also remade some of the old recipes and brought them in as part of the presentation of my project and people went fuckken nuts bc BREAD. basically i thought about “what motivates me? uh food” and followed that. it was a 45-page book about bread and i looked like a really good student when really i just love bread (somewhere, oprah smiles over me)
the 20-pagers are the ones you Actually Cannot Do the night before. i know we all got real fuckken cocky back in hs when we learned how to do 5 pages in one night w/out trying too hard but 1. as a teacher now i can tell u for sure that teachers do know you rushed it, we just Don’t Care bc We’re Not Paid Enough and 2. twenty pages is not the same thing. you need to actually take the time to do it. this is the actual version of “you’re not in hs anymore” DONT lie to yourself and think “it’s fine i’ll do it in one day” you will !! Regret it!!!!
“raquel. raquel. listen to me. do you actually believe i’m capable of time management. raquel i have depression i barely manage to exist.” same. but the truth is that when i started like?? actually following the rules of timelines and taking my time etc it actually really helps mental illness. you don’t feel pressured all the time by a deadline, so your anxiety chills a little bit. small progress being acceptable means that on depression days, you don’t have to worry you’re fucking it all up. when it’s 15 minutes every day (even if it’s only 1 word a day) it feels a lot better.
ask the teacher what timeline they’d recommend. they actually Know.
always ask if it’s informal or formal (if you can use “I” statements or not). informal essays can rely on personal feelings and are so much easier and trust me if you find out on the day it’s due that you could have written 12 pages about your feelings instead of 12 pages of research, you will Be Very Upset
i lie to myself all the time and move the deadline up. i write it in my agenda as at least 2 days before it’s due. surprise!!! i tricked u, self!!! you can’t procrastinate!!
agendas/planners need to be what actually works for you. i liked to prioritize w/colors + keep lists. i really love crossing things off lists. it’s like… a balm. for me, i usually say i have to finish the first 2 things, start the 3rd thing, and “touch” at least half the list. if i finish the whole list i get a prize. also i get to cross off everything which is so satisfying i’m sure it’s someone’s idea of a rush. there’s so many “how to” documents on these that i won’t get into it but frankly?? if you don’t write it down you will not remember it. “yes i will” no you won’t greg. just do it. write it down. write it where u can see it. not there, greg. greg, somewhere good. my friend is smart af and uses a post-it on her laptop. that doesn’t work for me bc i can just? use my hand to cover the anxiety? so choose somewhere good greg.
nervous system, skeleton, meat, skin. nervous system is the thesis. skeleton is quotes/data. meat is the analysis of that data. skin is the fancy transitions + beautification. meat goes on both sides of bone, and skin goes all around. nervous system has to touch everything. do what your teachers have been begging u to do since 3rd grade and start w/an outline. do this while you read/research. i usually have a starter thesis like “lady macbeth is a feminist ICON” then take the quotes i think fit. but if while you’re reading u realize u wanna talk about the use of feminine language and how shakespeare parallels daintiness w/sharpness, u still have a bunch of quotes you can use or not use. this works also w/research papers. just pull what u think is something u wanna talk about. copy-paste it but leave a link to where u got it. then put a bullet point under that says roughly why u mention it
if you just write the outline like you’re keeping notes to yourself you’d be amazed how quickly you write the essay bc we get stuck in academic language but it’s easier to translate “this is why bees are the #bomb” into a paragraph. i mean you just rewrite your notes to yourself in academic speech. “The above passage illustrates the growing necessity of pollinators such as bees in an agricultural environment.”
keep track of your sources + label them. don’t just write “(SOURCE)” instead if you’re using multiple sources use the lazygirl way which is (SA1) or whatever shorthand u have for each source. then when you need to finish your sources you go to your little source document, find the one labelled SA1 and then “Find+replace” w/the actual source.
integrate quotes so it reads w/clarity which means don’t do this but if you’re running late on it and don’t have time to look up the quote u want to fit this situation, technically you can “use any” word you want (56). so yeah “there is” a moral question about it but you “can” make up quotes (79, 90). don’t “actually” do this unless you’re seriously in a crunch. which u shouldn’t be, bc u managed ur time, right?
running late part 2 (which again would never happen bc you followed my advice and made a little time table for yourself but anyway if it does somehow magically happen) i really recommend using school computers to do your work. ur surrounded by people who will hold u accountable + u will focus
running late pt3 on the day of it being due, around 5 PM, be honest w/yourself and see where you are. if you’re like “it needs 2 more hours” okay. but if you’re like “this is……… not started” email the teacher. they’ll be so much more receptive the earlier you do this in the process. it looks like “i’m genuinely struggling and i hope to finish this on time but i’m worried i won’t” instead of “i started this at 11:58PM and am asking for an extension”. please also just… be honest?
“my teacher won’t accept late work!” they all say that, he probably will, particularly if you have a note from the school therapist being like “lmao she’s got so many mental illnesses idek how to help her”
“no he really doesn’t, he doesn’t care” you can file for disability if you have mental illness, and, in fact, you should if it’s something that often stops you from completing work on time. i didn’t bc i found that it just let me procrastinate for a longer time, but having that on file means you can go to the dean.
“no!!! raquel you’re not listening i have 2 pages and he doesn’t take late work!!!!!!!!!” okay. yeah that’s bad. but nerves, skeleton, meat, skin. what is it that you’re struggling with? is it that your can’t find any quotes to back up your thesis? impossible, tbh, you need to be more willing to purposefully misuse quotes (don’t do that). but the better option is to just change the thesis.
“i don’t even have that!!” did you. do the reading? if you even just watched the movie, you probably have an opinion on something even if it’s “this is bad.” you can use that. use why you didn’t like it to write a hate-fueled examination on how whiny the main character is and why u think the author is trying to point out how miserable cis white boys are to deal with.
“i don’t have enough sources!!!” go to wikipedia’s page about it and look @ the sources. try to like actually read some if you have time but frankly in a hurry a student (me) might be compelled to just slap the source in there.
“how the fuck do i analyze this”. u know how ppl agonize over why an actor breathed in a scene. melt into that kind of thinking. you can literally force the words to mean whatever you want. i’ve talked about word choice so specific that i based a 12-page essay on three separate uses of the words “my dear”. i talked about the possessive “my” and how it developed for like 5 of those pages. and always repeat the thesis like a million times. after every analysis you should talk about how it links to the thesis. that is like a free 3 sentences every paragraph.
“i did all that and it’s still 3 pages too short” quick ways to Beef Him Up: definitions are great in research papers + essays bc you can talk about either word choice or like the definition of every process used in getting the data. also make the conclusion hella informative (it should answer “what does this mean moving forwards” most of the time, tie it into modern life or into the past). thicken ur intro with “here’s a quote from this guy about it and what he personally felt about acid-base titrations”, use a paragraph to talk about the history of the data/book, use a paragraph to talk about the modern reception of the data/book. also look for where you can use two words instead of one even tho like grammatically don’t do that.
worst comes to worst, brevity is the soul of wit. most teachers prefer concise over rambling and all over the place. if you choose to scoot under the page limit, tho, your writing etc needs to be exceptionally clean. frankly i’ve only done this once and it was terrifying
make computer read it aloud 2 u before u submit. “raquel….. i can’t look at it anymore”. you’re not looking @ it, you’re discovering you wrote “breath” not “breathe” and u need to change it
tutoring centers exist, i worked in one, and this is how i know they actually Help and have Good Ideas
ask about extra credit and do it tbh
good luck…. breathe. and remember u are astronomically more important than a grade could ever be.
do you have trouble writing words on paper but you know what you want to say? because that’s my personal form of useless perfectionism.
like, you can tell your friend all about what you’re planning on writing, and talk about it for like 20 minutes straight?
make notes for imaginary slides for an imaginary presentation on the topic
oops you have an outline now! your imaginary slides? paragraphs (or if ur paper is long af, each imaginary bullet point is a paragraph and each imaginary slide is a couple pages)
credit for this tip goes to my therapist. thanks amy. u solved paper writing for me and at least seven of my friends
Partial credit is better than no credit at all. Only have 5 pages the day it’s due? TURN IT IN. It’s better than a zero if the teacher won’t work with you on an extension or late work