Thanks to former student Sam Moore’s request for advice, I too have something to post this evening:
Two pieces of advice:
1. Sometimes it helps to stop working now and try later if you’re really not feeling it. But if the deadline is soon,
2. Just do a freewrite where you throw down onto the page or screen any and all words that come to mind, the closer to the assigned topic the better. Afterwards, go back and delete as much of the crap as possible, and turn the assignment in and hope to do better next time.
Thoreau had some advice I like in the “Conclusion” to Walden:
Having considered that in an imperfect work time is an ingredient, but into a perfect work time does not enter, he said to himself, It shall be perfect in all respects, though I should do nothing else in my life.
Or, in other words: If the quality of the work is the priority, then take all the time you need to make the work great. But if getting done on time is the priority, then do it without worrying so much about quality — it’s not the priority.