Author: Adrianna Waters
Editor: DJ Cox
Now that all WKU classes and activities are officially online for the rest of the semester, finding the motivation to do homework is challenging, especially if you are back home or quarantined to your house or apartment. For some students, writing for class, work, or extra-curricular activities may be difficult. Here are some tips for writing while quarantined:
Find a space with minimal distractions to do your writing:
Before being quarantined to apartments or houses, many students had a preferred spot for studying or completing homework. Although some study spots are still available, such as the Honors College and International Center and the library, their hours have decreased, social distancing limits the number of people able to take advantage of these rooms, and they don’t benefit students who returned home and are no longer in Bowling Green. Other popular spots are closed, such as Spencer’s or Starbucks. If you are able to work in your room without getting distracted, considering setting up a desk area complete with your necessary writing materials, such as sticky notes, pens, notebooks, etc.
However, for several students, the main advantage of library rooms or coffee shops is the removal of bedroom distractions. If this is the case for you, consider recreating a study spot in your house or apartment. For coffee shop lovers, a small spot in the kitchen with a fresh cup of coffee or tea may work best for you. There are also websites and videos of “coffee chat” or “indistinct chatter” for those who work best with background noise.
For those who prize the quiet atmosphere of the library, a spot in your living or dining room could be a close replacement—but be sure to keep the TV off. If you have parents or siblings who are also working from home, choose a spot away from them to avoid the impulse to chat instead of write. While there is no solid method for creating a perfect writing or studying spot, it would be best to avoid areas with temptations of sleeping or watching TV.
Take steps to get in the writing mood:
Some students have trouble getting in the writing mindset even without a quarantine; it’s even more difficult when you haven’t left the house in days. Although it’s tempting to stay in your pajamas most of the day, getting dressed and acting as if you are going to class will switch your mindset from “relaxing” to “working.”
It may help to consider what steps you took to get in the writing mood before the quarantine. Do you make a fresh cup of coffee or tea? Do you listen to classical music? Do you read a short article or poem? Many of these steps can be repeated with little to no changes; however, it is important to make sure these steps do not turn into procrastination.
Seek assistance from virtual sources:
Without in-person classes and office hours, seeking help for essays can be challenging. Each professor has altered how they are delivering their instruction, but several professors are using Zoom, a video conference website, to conduct classes or hold meetings. If your professor is open to it, consider scheduling meetings over Zoom or other video/phone software to discuss writing assignments. While you can still use emails or Blackboard to ask questions, you may receive more information or assistance through conversations.
Of course, you can always use the Writing Center. While we are not open in our Cherry or Cravens locations, all students are available to schedule appointments online—not just students who are off-campus. To schedule an online appointment, either click here or email us at email@example.com.
Several online resources are available for assistance writing papers. Purdue OWL has information on the MLA, APA, and Chicago style guides, and it is also a good resource for grammar rules. For students wanting to do a final check for grammar mistakes or typos, Grammarly offers a basic proofreading review for free—though students should double check all suggestions made by Grammarly to determine that they are accurate within their paper’s context. While online resources are a great supplement to the writing process, they should not replace revising your own work or seeking help from professors or tutors.
Establish a writing process:
The Writing Center has several posts about creating a writing process, and these pieces of advice still apply. With social distancing and quarantining, the temptation to procrastinate the writing process is even higher. However, it is even more important to set aside multiple days to brainstorm ideas, create an outline, draft your writing, and revise your essay. For more assistance with various writing steps, see Adrianna Waters’ blog post about the writing process, Jacky Killian’s post about researching, Abby Ponder’s post about outlining, or Emily Diehl’s post about revising.
While this transition may be challenging for some, we all have to try to adjust to the situation in order to ensure our academic success. Hopefully, this advice will make working from home easier for you.