I read Past Bedtime



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Welcome to I Read Past Bedtime, a blog for 20-somethings finding their way in the world.


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How to write 5000 words in 2 days

In my last post I succeeded in steadfastly ignoring the 5000 word essay I’ve been set for the holidays by completing a wide range of unnecessary but fulfilling household chores.

Of course, as is always the case, the day came round when I couldn’t ignore my real work any longer. Sitting down to plan my two weeks of freedom, I suddenly realised, social butterfly that I am, that I hadn’t actually left myself much time to get a considerable amount of words under my belt, never mind on the paper.

Yet here I am, a mere seven hours later, sitting on a cool 3600 – brimming with confidence that in one more day’s hard graft I will have the requisite 5000. Now, I never said I was the best writer, but I’ll be damned if I ain’t one of the speediest. Read on for my tips to reach the word count in minimum time, leaving you free to spend your weekend/evening/holiday however you see fit. Good luck!

Tip 1: Kiss goodbye to perfection.

One thing you have to let go of right from the get go if you want to be the speediest writer in town is the idea of perfection. I’m not saying don’t proofread, nothing says ‘I did this half asleep the night before while eating a pizza’ like a bunch of typos, but you need to accept that the content isn’t going to be your finest. At Cambridge, this used to be more taxing, as I would then be forced to spend an hour the following day unpicking an essay I already knew to be deeply flawed with an expert in the field. If submitting semi-anonymously via Turnitin, however, this works an absolute treat.

Tip 2: And your friends and family, for that matter.

If you want to bosh out some serious wordage in 2 days, you need to commit. We’re talking lockdown. Some substantial one on one time between you and your computer. No texting, messaging, whatsapping – ideally no one in your house either. Study group? Bad idea. Remove all distractions and you’ll be done much faster.

Tip 3: Reference as you write.

Who are these people who allocate a separate day for referencing? If you have time for that, you don’t need this blog post in your life, or my friendship frankly. Start your bibliography from the get go and chuck stuff into it AS SOON AS you know you’ll be using it in your writing. While you have the book in front of you/the web page open you have all the info you need for your bibliography. Refuse to make your life a misery trying to find your sources later by getting them down there and then.

Tip 4: Get yo self a playlist.

Unless you are in the library and have forgotten your headphones, writing in a silent room is a punishment that no student deserves to endure. To really get you in the zone, I find it works well to have a playlist of music you that like (obviously) but that’s not your usual leisure genre. Find what works for you: I used to love the elven themes from The Hobbit until the Tauriel song kept making me cry. So I found this alternative that is the right blend of soothing and motivational. Get some background noise on and everything else will fall into place.

Tip 5: Motivate yourself with treats.

So the stick is you’ll get a right telling off if you don’t hand this essay in, but where’s the carrot? You want treats, you need treats and you deserve treats. Set yourself mini landmarks in your work (500 words written, 10 pages read…) and reward yourself without fail when you reach them. It might be as simple as sending a smug text to a loved one (the only communication allowed during lockdown). It may be food based. If you’re lucky enough to have a rich parent/husband, it could be monetary. Find what motivates you and work your socks off for it.

Tip 6: Watch this video.  

If, having tried all of the above, you inexplicably find yourself on Netflix, watch this. If Shia can’t help you, I’m afraid I don’t know who can.