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Anxiety about academic writing: I never have enough time

Learn more about techniques and tools to help you if you feel anxious about academic writing

You might be feeling:

  • All I seem to do is procrastinate.
  • I always run out of time on my assignments.
  • I don't know how I'm going to get everything done on time.
  • I'm stuck and I think I have writer's block.

What can you do right now?

Emotional strategies

  • Read "Are you a procrastinator or an incubator?", and if you're actually an incubator of ideas, put that strength to work for you!
  • Try the Pomodoro Technique for time management when you have a lot to accomplish in a short time frame.
  • If you are an actual procrastinator, remember that motivation does not precede 'doing'. We have to start doing and then motivation flows from it. Try giving yourself a small task to do with respect to your writing and then do it!  What will your small task be?  Reading through your assignment question? Planning out your paper? Reading one of your articles? Writing one paragraph? Writing 100 words?
  • One of the hardest parts about writing is actually getting started, whether that involves opening a book or turning on a computer. Rather than getting stuck in the anticipation of starting, just take that first step: Turn on your computer and see where you get to from there. Have you already done that? Congratulations! You're on your way! What's your next small step going to be?
  • Turn off distractions!!  Try the Cold Turkey app.

Writing strategies

  • Consider the source of your procrastination and/or writer's block. For example, do you need to complete more research? Are you feeling unsure of what you're supposed to do? Are you feeling uncomfortable with the content? Are you struggling to identify how to start? Based on the answers to these questions, please contact the appropriate people for help e.g., Librarians, your instructor, and/or the Writing Centre.
  • Use the Assignment calculator to set a project schedule and adjust the deadlines as needed for your project.
  • Be realistic about the time you’ll need to complete all the tasks involved so that you have achievable deadlines. For information on the steps involved in writing an essay, please visit “How to write an undergraduate-level essay” or “How to write a graduate-level essay” for a 12-step process.

Ask for help

Counselling Services
(250) 391-2600 ext. 4515  
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Writing Centre
(250) 391-2600, ext. 4353 or 1-800-788-8028
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