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Editing your assignment

Cat waking up
Black cat, white cat by Oui-ennui (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Have you worked all weekend on an assignment only to feel that it still needs a lot of work, and you cannot bear to look at it another second? Feeling ‘over it’ is a great time to get help from the QUT Learning and Research Desk or make a Study Solutions appointment. The good news is that feeling ‘over it’ is an entirely normal part of the writing process. Acknowledge your feelings and plan for them. Know that they too will pass and that you will feel excited again as you rush towards the finish line.

Here’s a simple cycle for defeating your writer blues: break-scribble-break-rewrite

Break

Plan a break between finishing a first draft and editing your assignment. 24hrs is a good break from your work to get clarity—but even an hour or two can help you transition. During your break, print out your assignment, single-sided so that you have a physical document to scribble on for the next stage.

Scribble

When you return to your assignment, use a pencil or pen to make comments on your draft as though you were a teacher. Use arrows and comments to signify big changes. Making your work physical helps you identify flaws and improve logical flow to really boost your grade.

Break

Once you have finished marking up your draft, take a good long break, maybe take a walk, move to a different location or enjoy something totally unrelated to your assignment.

Rewrite

With your printed and scribbled-on assignment, make your corrections from beginning to end (to make sure you don’t forget any) on your computer.

You can defeat your writer blues using the break-scribble-break-rewrite cycle multiple times. The good news about editing is that you get better and better each time you practice. Just like learning guitar or surfing, writing and editing become easier with effort. Try to be gentle on yourself if you find it hard. It is hard, but it is worth it and you’ll feel great when you finally submit your work.

cat in the sun
A cat in the sun is a happy cat by Chris Pederick (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
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Academic Skills Adviser @ QUT Library

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