I've been doing creative writing for years (and studied it with the OU) and have done the NaNoWriMo challenge for 9 years. NaNo if you are not familiar is a challenge to write 50k word novel(la) in the month of November, It's all about quantity over quality.
I mention this because essay writing also became easier. I fairly quickly write a bad essay with no quotes or details, just the material I want to cover with (* this is in book X) highlighted in red to tell me where to find the information that I'll add later. I can see if the structure and arguments are working within an hour or so.
I also break down the word count by subject, argument points etc so the essay I'm on now will have 5 points discussing 2 things and I've worked it out at 165 words per point. I can write 165 words. This won't be exact, as the essay develops I may decide 2 points are worth more words etc.
Once you have a complete first draft (usually 1k of a 2k essay) it's less of a struggle to come back to it and polish it bit at a time.
DH (just finished OU BEng) and I 'NaNo' our essays he refuses to write novels though
I know what you're saying is right! DH keeps saying the same much to my annoyance. But then he hammers out in 4 hours what his PhD mates do in a week.
How to relax though? I've managed to work myself into such panic, it's shit. I can't even concentrate. I don't want to stay up too late either as DD is still a frequent night feeder and not having slept through a night in 15 months is a killer for me.
I'll just go and write something now.
And God, yes to perfectionism stifling creativity. I'm the least creative person on earth.
Make a rough plan, write something/anything, and then read through and edit. When you have no child free time, set up DC with an activity and write a paragraph/200 words. Do several times a day and you'll work your way through it.
I know it's not great advice but if I'm really stuck I sit down and write a load of rubbish with a large glass of wine...then refine it in a later sober state. You need to relax...creativity is often stifled by perfectionism.
Stop deleting and just write. First drafts are supposed to be rough but they give you something to build on. I have this issue too. I tend to expect the assignment to click just be reading. However ime, when you are writing is when it really clicks.
The questions aren't even hard. They're just not for me. It was my child-free study day today and I have gotten nowhere. NOWHERE! I wanted to be finished by tonight but instead I don't even have 10% done.
I procrastinate, go back to it, re-read the question, write a few sentences, delete them, re-write, think I finally get it, only to feel that what I'm doing isn't good enough and delete it again.
I have no time left.
I think a big part of the problem is that I'm a perfectionist and not happy with just writing something. I want it to be excellent. And so keep deleting...
Help! Someone hold my hand through this s... as DH is seriously losing his patience. He's in the last months of his PhD so giving up his time today to look after DD while I did essentially nothing is difficult for him.