Before you begin writing, you should have a thesis or question that you’re comfortable with and an outline that gives you structure on what you need to say and where. Now just take pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and write. “Sure, easier said than done,” you might be thinking. Fair enough, but we aren’t asking you to come up with polished prose. It can be as rough as you want it to be. And with practice, it does get easier and faster.
Believe it or not, drafting should be the least time-consuming step in the research paper process. Invention should take longer. Research should take longer. And revising should definitely take longer. If it’s taking you a month of Sundays just to eke out a thousand words, two things could be happening:
1. you don’t have any clue what you should be saying (in which case you don’t have a focal point or outline yet and so are starting too early!) or . . .
2. you’re revising while you draft so that you end up with one sentence an hour.
If it’s the latter (as it often is), separate your duties out. Within every writer, there is a Creator and a Critic. Write a letter to your Critic telling him or her to go to sleep for this step and wake up for the next one. Let your Creator shine for now.