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Challenges of Writing Papers for Students: Confessions of an Academic Writer

People who are unaware of what it is like to be an academic freelance writer might say it is a swell job: you can work in your pajamas at home, you have a flexible schedule, and drink vodka while you pound out essays and articles (though not advised). However, when one is writing papers for students, there are a bunch of messy details: usually, students provide any minimal instructions, you can have grueling periods of work, and your head can almost explode with the amount of information you have to take in.Writing Papers for Students

Messy Instructions

Sometimes, students simply write “do my essay” in the instructions field of the order form. Or even worse, students provide instructions that make no sense. For example: “Write a compare and contrast essay that shows the cause and effect through a case study format.” Somehow, you are supposed to read the student’s mind and create a masterpiece. In the worse case scenario, they provide super vague instructions and won’t even message you back about giving more details – and then get mad at you for writing something that they didn’t want. You just feel like slamming your head against your desk.

Flexible Extended Working Hours

Another overlooked part of being a freelance academic writer for students is that you can work for 12 or more hours in a day. Say you took an order to write a dissertation in five days and it amounts to 50 pages. The student who ordered that dissertation can, at the last moment, send you a message, and say something like, “Actually, I wanted to write about something different. Can you change the wording around in the whole document and change section 4-11 accordingly.” It is now midnight on a Friday and you just worked your butt off for a week, and essentially have to do the work all over again. Your weekend is gone and your enthusiasm for the project will most likely drop dramatically.

Excess of Information

It might seem cool to be constantly learning about many things (although seemingly random) and increasing your education, so to say. But, the flip-side of this is that it is easy to get overloaded with information. Writer’s brain, after a day’s work, usually feels like it has been smashed by two thousand articles, words, and ideas. Writers barely have the energy to do anything creative or useful after work. They just feel like playing video games, watching a movie, or sitting on the couch and staring at a wall. By the time writers feel mentally fresh again, it is time to go to sleep. This amassing of information can truly affect one’s work, as the brain can only handle so much information at a time. Writers make more mistakes in my writing in general simply because they have to cope with massive amounts of information each day, which are usually disconnected from each other.

As you can see, being an academic writer for students is not a dream job. Instead, it is a rewarding preoccupation with plenty of downsides, like dealing with unclear instructions, having an unhealthy amount of work to do at times, and being consistently overloaded with information. Stress is a common factor in the life of an academic writer for students – the kind of stress that makes you want to do something else.

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Aug 2, 2016

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