So, I've decided to do a little experiment. I am at the stage in schooling where I have written quite a few papers. Ok, tons of papers. Papers every semester of every year at college, dozens of them. So, by now I should be pretty good at them. I've decided to see just how long it takes me to write a 10-12 (plus works cited) page paper. It's going to on a topic I know pretty well, teaching English as a Second language, with a focus on building vocabulary, so I am estimating five hours. I have already spent 20 minutes acquiring materials (checking out four books, printing two journal articles, and pulling out any of my personal books which might be helpful), so only four hours and forty minutes to go.
20 minutes - Gathering books and printing journal articles
60 minutes - Looking through books and journals and organizing an outline
10 minutes - Writing an introduction
90 minutes - Sipping coffee and halfway finishing a rough draft at Perkins
60 minutes - Finishing the rough draft and completing works cited page
40 minutes - Printing and editing the rough draft
20 minutes - Proofreading rough draft and printing
And for a final time we have.....
.....Holy Cow. Wow. Exactly five hours.
(And it's a pretty darn good paper.)
I never would have thought it would somehow work out to EXACTLY five hours. Now I know that if I have a paper due on a Monday, all I need to do is set aside Sunday afternoon and I can finish it. It helps that I used a lot of my own reference books, so I knew where to find the information I needed, and it was about a topic (teaching a second langauge) that I am very familiar with. A paper on the Russian Revolution, I would need a LOT more time!
I need to add something. Usually I proofread and edit three or four times, so just having done it twice for this paper was grating on my mind. I broke down and spent another 40 minutes reading it through again, fixing mistakes, and printing it off. I'm glad I did, because there were some pretty ridiculous word mishaps here and there (work for word and so forth). So I can't say I finished it in five hours anymore...although if I had HAD to turn it it, it still would have been an acceptable paper.