Writing the assignment answer you want to

I’m back on the marked assignments again — I’m around a week ahead of schedule, which is good. Like the last one, this one too is one of tight word–counts: 800 for each of two questions.

I have written 932 words for one of the questions, and I am around 250 from finishing. I’m also finding it the easiest question I’ve attempted in ages.

Normally, when answering assignment questions, I spend more time worrying about the structure and the editing than getting the content down on paper. Working out what I need to say from what I want to say is a process that can drive me into paralysis. This time, I’m just not caring. Separating the writing phase and the editing phase turns out to allow me to write the answer I want to, then edit it into the answer that’s actually needed for submission to my tutor.

This isn’t a technique that will necessarily work well in exam conditions, however the technique of writing an answer plan first is similar, if in reverse. But I am going to continue to use it for the rest of my assignments, to see if it is a method to get around the paralysis I often feel when writing — what my friend Simon Pride described as my “inner censor”. I hope it does.