- Written by Adam Carver
- April 24, 2012
Have you ever had an assignment that requires you to write a paper at a specific length but for the life of you, you don’t know how to do it? Well, follow me into the writer’s block tunnel and out the other side.
Each issue of The Black Sheep requires us talented monsters to submit two articles for you wonderful readers to suck on while you down that lukewarm PBR you found under your bed. We used to consult a massive Rolodex of ideas, but the words “original” and “prepackaged” and “miscarriage” were thrown around more than we would like to admit. Now, we have to scavenge our minds while our teachers are talking, looking for the next brilliant idea that we could squeeze on a word document to keep you smiling.
Some ideas are rejected right away. Apparently, making a life-size sculpture of GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum made of entirely bananas isn’t really something worth writing about. I asked if I could do investigative journalism pieces, but the legal department made it perfectly clear that offering free genital examinations was inappropriate and far from newsworthy (what a bunch of party poopers).
So, when the well runs dry, what do I do to conjure up article ideas? It isn’t always the same thing. Sometimes it requires posing deep questions to the homeless drunks of Campustown. While other times, it’s eavesdropping on the phone call taken in a voice that IS WAY TOO LOUD for privacy. The best way to bullshit on a lengthy paper is to get the required length? String a thin line of facts across many paragraphs, spreading them as far out as you can without losing the central theme.
If your paper is on physics, make sure you leave a ton of space for any equation that even remotely applies. If you can get away with it, add graphs and charts. People don’t read text if you simplify it into pretty colors and pie charts. If the paper is based on length, increase the font size of all punctuation a point or two. You’ll be amazed how much that helps on a paper that needs a length upwards of ten pages.
I’ve tried in the past to find ways around the assignment. Hell, that’s the American Way. Some teachers frown on that though. I know one teacher that was so grumpy when I called them out on the impossible requirements in my paper that I ended up with a C. That paper warranted far better than a C grade, but some professors have stubbornness that doesn’t allow for their ego to be deflated.
So, does any of that help? Probably not if you are still eating the same stale pizza from last Wednesday. Go take a shower and remember to brush that yellow film off of your teeth. Once you’re done with getting cleaned up, open up another beer (a cold one this time) and let’s Facebook. All great ideas come from the F-book.
Think this was a waste of your time? If you read this far it ain’t. I just wrote an entire article about nothing. Told you I could.