If the assignment seems vague, it’s not because the professor is trying to trip you up.
Often, it’s that they know their field so well that it’s easy for them to think some things are “obvious”…even when they aren’t to us non-experts.
I never created an outline with bullets and numbers and letters before writing the paper.
I always just made one up afterwards because I was to turn one in with the final paper.
This let me spend more time on things that I enjoyed, such as writing for this blog and taking long walks through the woods. The ultimate waste of time when writing a paper is to write something that doesn’t even answer the question the professor is asking.
Today, I’m going to share this process so that you too can write papers more quickly (without a decrease in the quality of your writing). Don’t be afraid to ask the professor to explain any part of the assignment that’s unclear.
As Cal Newport explains, it’s called a flat outline.
No one sits down to write with a perfect idea of what they’re going to say.
Students would spend hours researching and writing a paper on a completely different topic than what the professor assigned.
It doesn’t matter how good a paper is–if it doesn’t answer the question, it’s going to receive a bad grade.
If you don’t have an environment where you can focus, you’ll waste hours jumping back and forth between the paper and whatever distractions come your way.
To make sure you have the focus of a zen master, you must create a writing environment that enables zen-like focus.