How to write long term papers

Essay Writing, Pper Writing Tips, Thesis Writing TipsToday’s blog post is based on an outstanding comment left by Renee… I thought it was important and relevant enough to add to it and share additional term paper writing tips or when you have a long essay or a thesis to write.

Renee’s comments are italicised…

Your tip for writing long papers is brilliant. You find a piece of info that you know will be important in your writing even though you haven’t formulated the entire approach in your mind. However, you know you will have to introduce this info, explain it and give it’s relevance to your point, which to me is grunt work that I hate to do when I am “on a roll” of writing the main part of my thought. It’s like a forced stop that kills my catharsis and motivation.

Writer’s block is the single hardest thing to overcome – by capturing these anecdotes, statistics, facts or references – it creates SOMETHING on the page that you can easily edit and embellish. A blank page is so scary!

I only take breaks at the end of a section, as a reward, during which I usually am thinking of how to begin the next section, or I break in the middle of writing something I am enjoying, because I continue to compose in my head while on break and can’t wait to get back to it to get it on paper, (an out-dated expression. I guess we should say get it on computer).

If stopped writing at a point where I needed to introduce a new idea that needed to be referenced or supported with additional data, I would put it aside rather than start writing about it. The reason is that if I stopped at that point, I felt it had a negative feeling for me.  Every time I would try to return to writing, I knew, the first thing I would  be faced with was that negative starting point – having to do research and find hard-to-find references and that’s when some avoidance behaviors kick in. It’s a minor feeling, but any apprehension or hesitation can build over time and as a student, time is of the essence. You need to get back to writing as quickly and enthusiastically as you can!

This is a common problem – what I suggest gets rid of that – especially when you read the next suggestion below about using FOOTNOTES and ENDNOTES in Microsoft Word!

I would even suggest going one step further and numbering these references pre-written paragraphs, save them in a separate file and print them out. Keep them next to you as you write and just put the # in the spot you want it to be when you are in your flow of writing. At the end of a section or the end of your paper, open both files, and copy, paste the reference paragraph into it’s numbered spot, tweaking any info needed to make it flow with the main writing.

Microsoft Word allows you to automatically number your references – look into it. That means as you MOVE the references around, all the numbers are re-ordered automatically! That means you don’t have to constantly update them! You can use a split screen to have the footnotes/endnotes at the bottom of the page for inspiration and quick access! Check our your help menu in Microsoft Word for more details.

When I wrote my Ph.D. thesis – I had HUNDREDS of references – there is no way I could have managed to do this manually.

Thesis Writing Tips, Essay Writing TipsGosh, I wish I had thought of that when I was in college. Of course, it wouldn’t have worked for me, because there were no computers. Just manual, not even electric typewriters. I remember using index cards in a similar way. I would make notes of reference info on separate cards and then put the cards in the order of when I wanted them to appear in the paper.  Then as I was writing, I kept them next to me. I would glance at the top card frequently to remind me of where I was heading in my writing and to introduce the thought that would lead to that reference, and also to remind me to not forget to put it in. Once written, I flipped it over and my next reference goal was visible on top. Maybe if you print out the references, cut and sort them in this manner, number them at that point, stack them next to you, you could avoid, hunting through pages of text of references, while on a writing spree, each time you want to find the one you

4 Responses to “How to write long term papers”

  • Thank you Marc for using my comment to educate me and others on the built in helpful pieces of computer software. I didn’t know that these were available footnote/endnote features. I will share them with my son.

  • Students are increasingly finding themselves stuck with a lot of work. Whether studying an undergraduate course or pursuing a postgraduate one, these students realize that their course reads, assignments, projects and extracurricular activities spare them no valuable time for themselves. Moreover, some of their assignments are extremely difficult too. An example for the same could be the increasing trend of research term papers. Most colleges are now choosing to let their students submit term papers and essays rather than administer an examination. Some other colleges, on the other hand, are taking their students through the rigours of both terms papers and essays and the examinations. The subjects of these papers are compound and tricky.

  • Hi Marc,

    First of all I would like to say that im not a native English speaker, so pardon me if there are any errors in my comment.
    Now to the question:

    As a high school student I try to have the love for all of my subjects as I know this will increase my performance in every one of them.

    My problem begins with essays in English class. I don’t know what the problem is, but I just can’t seem to write an essay. Every time I sit down to write one, I know I’m doomed, because even though I try to focus, I just can’t seem to produce anything. Now, I don’t know if it lies in the psychology, because this has been going on for a while, and I’ve started thinking that the only reason I can’t write one, is because I really don’t believe I can. All this leads to a loss of focus and procrastination.

    Additionally, I try to determine how long it will take me to do a task in every subject, but the same is not possible for me to do when I’m writing an essay.


    • Hi Abbas,

      Thank you for placing a comment – we encourage everyone who has a question to post a comment!

      In respect of writing your essays for English, believing you can do it is part of the solution, but being CLEAR about what you want to write is just as important.

      Since English is not your native language, write the main points of your essay in your native language, flush out all the main ideas and structure them in your words, in a language you are comfortable with – WITHOUT writing it. Just the MAIN POINTS.

      Once you have the main points, then you can gauge how long you think it will take and start writing.

      Good luck and let us know how you go!

      Onward and upward!

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