Writing an essay (and a blog post) can be challenging. It might be hard to know not now where to start. Sometimes even picking a topic can cause a lot of anxiety and self-doubt. You might ask yourself: What should I write about? What if it isn’t good enough? What if I don’t get it perfect?
Self-doubt, self-criticism and the desire for perfection can interfere with success and accomplishment. These thoughts can lead to procrastination, which can cause you to feel overwhelmed and stress.
Here are 5 strategies that students can use to help manage stress when writing an essay:
Examine your thoughts and your self-talk. Are you sabotaging yourself? Are you getting in your own way? Do you think that you are not able to write an essay? Can you think about when you were able to write an essay?
Break tasks down into smaller steps. If writing an essay feels too overwhelming, you can start by: brainstorming topics, researching ideas, writing an outline, or writing a paragraph.
Think about your learning style. Students can have different learning styles. Some might work better by reading books while others might prefer talking about their topic to themselves or to someone else. Some might use brainstorming and mind maps.
Talk to your teacher or tutor. If you do not know where to start, your teacher or tutor might be able to give you some tips, strategies and resources that can help.
Create a SMART goal. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Based. Try to create a SMART goal for writing the essay. A SMART goal could be: “I will spend two hours researching topics online and select a topic for the essay today.” Some students might also find that a reward could help. For example, if you are able to select a topic today, the reward would be to spend a half-hour talking to a friend.
Let us know what strategies work for you by adding a comment for this article or on our social media.