Stephen King claims that if you want to start writing, you just have to put your hands on the keyboard and start typing. Do not think about where the story is going to end. Let your characters be spontaneous. The other well-known writer, Mikhail Bulgakov, kept the names of The Master and Margarita heroes in a small wooden box. Whenever he was seeking inspiration, he would directly ask his heroes about the plot by picking up the note with their names on it. We can be absolutely sceptical about the Russian writer’s method, yet it was solely his way to search for answers.
Academic writing is a slightly different world. You’ve got paper instructions, a grading rubric, and the number (or even the list) of sources to be used for references. There is no need to make up a plot. What matters is the language you use and whether your flow of ideas and words is good.
One more thing: location. I can easily read on the train, in the park, while waiting for a doctor in the reception room. But when it comes to writing, I need to have my own space to come up with any text (not a Facebook status update, though. I can easily let my Facebook friends know what I had for breakfast from any part of the world. Like I travel that much….yeah, sure).
It doesn’t have to be a huge room with a fancy wooden table in the center. All you need is a room with a door. Simple door. Once you are in, set yourself a goal and do not open the door until you reach it. You need to write a two-page paper to ‘Explain the main principles of the GDPR to your grandma’? Do not open the door until the paper is done. If now your grandma knows that GDPR is not a recently discovered disease, bingo! – you’ve reached your goal.
If it is possible, leave your cell phone outside the room. And close the curtains. Ideally nothing should distract you from your work. Even if your windows overlook a park with jogging couples, mommies playing with kids, and the lake with swans and fountains. The fountain… Was it here all the time? I remember a group of men in the yellow ‘NC building company’ uniform. They must have built the fountain on taxpayers’ money. I remember signing up some bills last week. I’d better find them now before they decide to add a marble statue of Gaius Julius Caesar right next to the fountain. I will get back to the paper later on. Shoot! Looks like the deadline has passed…
You need a room, a door, and a strong will to close it.