Saturday, 1 December 2012

How I Do My Assignments

So I now have just under two 2 weeks left to finish 4 assignments and I’m feeling pretty good about it, particularly as two are basically finished.
This semester has gone by quickly for me and that’s probably a good thing since I have no money and very little food left. Anyway, since the assignment deadlines are getting so close I thought I’d go through the steps of how I complete each of my assignments. It took me a while to figure out in which way I work best (I didn’t have it perfected throughout school and college) but now that I know getting work done is a lot easier.

1.         Knowing what to do

My first step in beginning an assignment is always going over what I have to do again as well as taking note of the assessment criteria. From this I can usually develop a list of things that need to be included in the assignment, as well as how to write it. Another thing I do when I have a number of assignments is to list them in order of closest to furthest due date. That way, the closer ones can be given more attention. Of course, this only works if they’re a couple of weeks or more apart, obviously that technique won’t work for ones that are one day after another.

2.         Use interests

This is a benefit of being a creative writing student. For original writing pieces I decide based on what I like to write obviously, for the presentation on an author I’ve chosen my favourite, for my essay on a film I’ve chosen one of my favourites, and for any other writing piece I’ve chosen stories I like. Of course, there are cases where I need to find new stories as well and in that case I try to find ones that sound interesting. Not only does this make the work more fun, but it usually makes it easier to find things to write about as well.

3.         Method of writing

It can take some extra time writing on paper only to have to copy it onto the computer, but if you’re like me and find it easier to keep writing that way, it’s probably for the best. It’s also best to then recycle the paper when you’re done with it.

4.         Schedule

I hate to say it but it is a lot easier to get work done when you have a schedule. Currently I’m not scheduling in specific times for working on assignments but I am writing down which day I’ll work on which assignments. This is just as effective for me because I tick off each job as I do it and I hate to get to the end of the day with ticks missing. I’ve been using the same method for housework too. Scheduling things like this also makes it easier to space out each job, so I only have a few tasks to do each day.

5.         Plan

This is of course an important part of any piece of work. I like detailed plans usually but this semester I’ve been keeping it simple – bullet point planning for original pieces and short notes for each other assignment.

6.         Cut assignments into smaller pieces

Trying to get everything done at once is long and painful. I’ve found the easiest way to get things done is to split the assignment into smaller parts. For example, my analysis of two short stories is divided like this:
-           Structure
-           Characterisation
-           Description and dialogue
-           Other writing techniques
This is then done for each story. In a later draft, these things will be compared as well.

7.         1st draft

What I’ve learned this semester is not to worry too much about the first draft. I put effort into it of course but I make an effort to keep writing even if there’s a point I’m stuck on. This can make it come out worse than I might like, but this is the best way of getting the whole thing written and means I know what needs to be said, there just needs to be a better way of saying it. The ‘bad’ parts can be fixed in the next draft.

8.         Feedback and following drafts

We only get class feedback on our original pieces. I’ve been lucky this year in that I’ve only been given constructive criticism so far. Not all of this needs to be included in the final piece either of course, aside from the odd mistake it’s purely suggestion (although a certain awesome person did give me a great ending for my story). That’s why I prefer this kind of criticism, if I don’t agree with what someone’s saying usually I can at least see where they’re coming from and if I do agree well that just makes my work better. I like to do new drafts following every feedback session as a result. Then, as with those that do not get class feedback, they get looked at every few days. I’ve been lucky enough to get it so that I only really have to focus on one assignment each day now. I like leaving a few days between new redrafts as well because the time makes it easier to spot things that should be changed. Plus if I have to read them too much they start to bore me and make me hate my work.

So yeah, that’s pretty much it. With the four assignments I have left to finish I’m hoping to hand them in early. Well, I have to with those for the prose module because they’re due on the 17th and I leave on the 13th. It’s good to get the work finished before its due date though because I hate having to rush to get it finished, printed and handed in. Luckily I’ve been avoiding that for the most part so far.

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