by Laura Tibbetts
Starting a paper can seem daunting, but there are definitely ways to make the process feel more comfortable. One thing that has helped me a lot when I feel stuck and have no idea how to approach a paper is freewriting.
After I’ve gotten a paper topic and before I even have my thesis, I find it very helpful to write down all of my ideas on that topic without worrying about organization, grammar, or making sentences that sound good.
(**Note: if you are writing a research paper, it might be helpful to do some research first so that you have something to write about in your freewrite).
The process of writing down all of your ideas without editing them can often help you think of things that would never have occurred to you otherwise. Also, instead of painstakingly building up a paper sentence by sentence, it can be much more effective to fill pages with freewriting, which you can then edit down into a paper.
One of the best results of freewriting is that it usually brings you to some sort of conclusion that could be formed into a thesis.
Once you have your thesis, you can then go back into your freewrite and pick out all the related ideas, which make a great foundation for your paper!
Laura Tibbetts is a French and art major, and her favorite college academic experience so far has been studying abroad in France.