By Lucas Turcotte

It’s about that time of year again when you might be assigned an overwhelming amount of writing assignments on the same day, but don’t get stressed! There are several places and people around campus who can assist you to perfect writing assignments for any class, but first, take a look at these tips that could help you complete your first draft.

1) Learn By Writing: Have fun and experiment! Think of your assignment as an opportunity to learn, instead of a form of punishment by your professor. All forms of writing will enable you to strengthen your knowledge on a subject. And as if we have not heard it enough throughout our lives, practice makes perfect.

2) Writer’s Block: It’s always important to take into consideration the topic you could write about. If you are taking notes in class and find something interesting, this is a good start for you to research possible topics. Although we all might not have time to pick up a book during our busy schedule, actively reading literature that is pertinent to the class can help spark your brainstorming process. Whether you realize it or not, as you read, you are constantly making connections from the text to other sources of literature, to yourself and to the world.

3) Construct an Outline: This is the second technical step to writing well. Once you have brainstormed an idea, getting all of your thoughts onto paper is an effective start to organizing your essay. Whether you are writing a research paper or a persuasive piece, you should format an introduction, followed by the body which goes into depth on your subject, and a conclusion that assembles your findings or justifies your opinion in summary.

4) Time Management: Structuring your schedule around classes and extracurricular activities is a great way to use time wisely by working on a paper a little at a time. This also gives you time to get up and stretch, or get your mind off of an assignment if you’ve been working on it continuously and encounter writer’s block.

5) Revise, Revise, Revise: Once you have completed a draft, consider printing out a hard copy to review. This way, you can read your paper out loud and catch some grammatical errors you might not have noticed when reading in your head, and finally make correction on paper. Reading your paper out loud uses two senses instead of one, therefore, your brain is being more active and you are more likely to notice mistakes. Consider additional help from peer tutors at the Writing Center located in the Academic Success Center.

Lucas Turcotte is a senior at Paul Smith’s College from Henniker, New Hampshire. He has been a Peer Tutor in the Writing Center for three years and also tutors Natural Resource Economics and Watershed Management. Lucas is pursuing a B.S. in Natural Resource Management & Policy, with minors in both Forestry and Environmental Communication. He is an active member of the Forestry Club and Woodsmen’s Team, and is anticipating to graduate May of 2015.

Lucas and our other Writing Tutors are available to meet with you in the Writing Center Monday through Thursdays from 10:00 am-4:00 pm & 6:00-8:00 pm. The Writing Center is also open Fridays from 10:00 am-2:00 pm, and Sundays 4:00-8:00 pm.