Midnight writing. Late night writing. Last minute writing. It goes by many names, but you all know what I’m talking about. That thing that happens when there’s an assignment or deadline the very next day and this piece of writing MUST be done, but as you stare at the screen, everything gets fuzzy and your head starts to drop and your eyes start to close and
Yep. You feel me.
There was once when I wrote a paper at night, quickly edited it through blurred eyes, and submitted it just a couple minutes before the deadline. When I read it the next day, there was a sentence in my conclusion that just
I don’t even know what it was supposed to say. It just… stopped. And it was IN MY CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH. Somehow, in my sleep depraved state, I completely and totally missed that. Yeahhhh, that was a good grade alright.
I figured that it might be helpful to have a couple tips on how to better write late night, last minute papers, so, here we go.
Tip #1: Just don’t.
The best way to avoid all the pain and agony and suffering is to just not do it. Be a good person. Write your assignments ahead of time. Submit them early. Sleep well and don’t become addicted to coffee. Have a wonderful life.
Don’t we wish.
But sometimes, that just isn’t possible. Like this weekend, for example, when I was called in twice to my two different jobs and in the span of three days, I worked 35 hours. It’s gonna be a good paycheck, but assignments did NOT get done and as a result, there was a last minute, late night writing spree. That leads us to
Tip #2: Just Write
When it’s that late at night and we’ve already worked hard that day, words just aren’t going to come out coherently. Don’t try to make them. It will only take longer and leave you feeling more frustrated at the end of it. Just think of your writing prompt or subject and let loose. Write over your word count too if you’re able. That way, when you cut out all the incoherent mumble jumble, you don’t have to figure out how to add 184 words.
Tip #3: Edit Out Loud
Yes, I mean exactly that. Read your paper out loud. When you are exhausted, things are blurring on the page and your brain isn’t thinking much more than, “can this please be over now????” But when you read it out loud, you bring more of your senses to the table, (eyes, ears, brain processing words to speak), and you will be able to catch more mistakes that if you’d just read it. I use this technique even when I’m not falling asleep and I always, ALWAYS, catch mistakes that I missed by just reading.
Tip #4: If Possible, Have Another Reader
I understand that’s not always possible. It may be 2am in the morning and your roommate (or sister in my case) is happily sleeping away. This is the time where you shake them awake in punishment for being a better student than you are and make them read it anyways. Yeah, no. It’s not always possible, but WHENEVER it is, always have another reader. Things are fresh to them and they may see things that you don’t. Also, they aren’t in love with that one paragraph that you just spent half an hour on and may tell you that it’s the worst paragraph they’ve ever seen. Clobber them over the head with a pillow, then go fix the paragraph because they’re probably right.
And then they were all masters and never got a grade under an A- again.The End
Don’t we wish.
But hopefully, if for some reason, you have to do any more late night writing, you’ll be a little better at it and have more success. Don’t worry. There’s only three more years of college to finish and then all of your career. 😉
Do you have any funny late night writing stories? What happened? Do tell!