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The writing process

Being conscious of your writing process makes it easier to write a good assignment. 

There are a number of elements you need to keep track of when writing an assignment: requirements, deadlines, planning the process, as well as actually writing and submitting the assignment. It’s important for a good writing process that you familiarise yourself with the deadlines and requirements for the assignment from the start, and that you make a plan for your writing process. This will give you an overview of when to complete specific parts of the assignment to make sure that you finish on time.  

Encountering challenges during the writing process is quite common – when you start writing, during the process and right before the submission deadline. Knowing about different tools and methods to help you move forward in the writing process can be useful.   

This page provides tips on how to get started writing your assignment, how to plan your writing process and how to finish the assignment. 

Keep track of requirements and deadlines

An academic assignment is assessed on the basis of a number of criteria. At an early stage in your writing process, you should familiarise yourself with the criteria on which your assignment will ultimately be assessed. For example, you can: 

Plan the writing process

Take charge of your writing process by considering and reflecting on how you work best. 

It’s a good idea to think about how you intend to go about writing your assignment, and whether you want to integrate specific work processes. It can also be helpful to reflect on your process as you go along and on whether some of your working methods can be improved.  

Planning your writing process will give you an overview of the most important tasks and stages of the writing process. Planning can include adjustments and editing of the text, feedback from others, ongoing deadlines, and the collection of empirical data. Below are some specific suggestions for how to plan your writing process. 

Allocate time for writing  

You don’t need to feel inspired before you start writing. Allocate a specific time slot and then start writing, regardless of whether you feel inspired or not. Don’t set aside an entire day for writing, but instead divide your day into smaller writing blocks. This will help you focus exclusively on your writing during these blocks. 

By doing one thing at a time and devoting a time slot to your writing, you will make better use of your working hours and spend less time just staring at the screen. 

Make a project plan 

When working on a large project, for example a Bachelor’s or a Master's thesis, it’s a good idea to use a project plan to help you keep track of your progress. Draw up the project plan together with or after consulting your supervisor. 

Use the project plan for large written assignments (in Danish) (pdf) to plan your work. The timings of individual phases are merely recommendations and can be discussed with your supervisor. 

Keep a log  

It can be a good idea to keep a log to reflect on the process and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What have I done today? 

  • What am I going to do tomorrow? 

  • What is not going so well? 

  • What is going well? 

  • What am I unsure about? 

This will make progress on your assignment more visible to you, and be a motivating factor, especially for large assignments that span a long period of time. 

Use a writing partner or a writing group  

You can choose to write your assignment with another student or you can form a writing group, where you write your own assignments but help and support each other during the process. Discuss your expectations for the collaboration with your writing group or writing partner, and agree on how you are going to work together. For example, it’s a good idea to set fixed deadlines for specific parts of the project. 

Regardless of whether you choose to write the assignment alone or in a group, you will receive an individual assessment of the assignment. 

Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of writing alone and with others. 

Get ongoing feedback 

Feedback on your assignment is useful no matter when you receive it. Feedback on your idea at a very early stage can help you sharpen the focus of your assignment and your problem statement, and get you off to a good start without getting side-tracked. Ongoing feedback on your text can help you stay focused, structure the content of your assignment and assess whether something should be left out or elaborated - perhaps you’ll discover something so interesting that you will want to change the focus of your assignment. However, if you wait with feedback until the final phase of the process, it may be too late to change any major or fundamental things in your assignment. Feedback in the final phase can, however, be used to finalise and refine the text. Therefore, make sure you receive ongoing feedback from your supervisor, fellow students or others. 

Finish off properly 

Set aside plenty of time for the final phase of work on your assignment. Make sure you answer the research questions posed, that your assignment is coherent, and that it meets all formal requirements and other requirements. You do this by thoroughly reading and editing the assignment and by receiving feedback from your fellow students. Having someone else read your assignment will help spot any shortcomings or aspects you have left out or failed to explain properly. You can also learn a lot by reading and giving feedback on other people’s assignments. When receiving feedback, it is often a good idea to be specific about what you want feedback on. 

Writing to write and writing to think

What you write in connection with your assignment serves different purposes: Sometimes you write stuff that’s meant to form part of the actual assignment, and sometimes you write simply to remember or reflect on something.  

Your writing process will involve different ways of writing, and you will most likely write more text than you will use in the final assignment. But this is a necessary part of the process and of selecting what is most important to include in the assignment. 

Text is often written and edited in bursts: You write a few sentences, delete something, then write a bit more because you’re trying to simultaneously figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it. 

But it's better to do one thing at a time. This will make your writing more manageable and efficient. 


Thinking through writing  

For large assignments, it’s a good idea to use writing as a way of stimulating your thoughts. For example, you can use speed writing, post-its, notes, drawings or similar. 

Thinking through writing can improve your writing process because forcing yourself to write down your thoughts will often give you more ideas to work with. Moreover, you will produce more material, and thereby be able to select the best material for your final assignment. Under "Kick-start your writing" further down on this page, you will find exercises to help you get started on your assignment and to get back on track if you get stuck during the writing process. 

Visualise your assignment 

Work on visualising your assignment, for example by drawing a mind map. You can also place the different parts of your assignment on individual pieces of paper that you can then move around to try out different compositions. 

Click here to read more about assignment structure. 

First produce, then edit  

It can be hard to think about what to write and how to write it at the same time. Give yourself permission to simply write what comes to mind without considering whether it sounds good. This will help ensure that you write down the most important points that you can then edit and refine afterwards. This will make the writing process more manageable because you’re not expecting too much of yourself all at once. 

Complete the analysis before you write it  

The analysis is usually the most comprehensive part of an assignment, and it is very important that you complete the actual analysis before you start writing the analysis section, i.e. that you work on your object(s) of analysis (e.g. empirical data or artefact), sort out your data with your highlighter pen, find key figures, important quotations, etc. Only once you have identified the key aspects of the analysis will you be able to see the sub-analyses, patterns and categories to be communicated in your analysis section. 

Click here to read more about how to structure your analysis 

Make continuous adjustments 

During the writing process, you will shift between thinking through writing, proper text production and editing. During the editing phase, you need to consider whether text needs to be rewritten, deleted, added or moved. The editing phase is also where proofreading is done. Editing is usually a multiple-stage process and a major part of the writing process. It’s where you make sure that the structure of the assignment is logical, and that the overall argument of the assignment is coherent. 

Kick-Start your writing 

Getting started on your writing can be hard. You’re staring at the blinking cursor on a blank page and you don't really know where to start. So you postpone the writing and start doing other things instead. But the best way to get going is simply to start writing. You might want to start writing by hand or outlining on a piece of paper instead of sitting at your computer. Try different things and see what works for you. 

It’s also quite normal to get stuck along the way and to find writing difficult. You may even experience writer’s block. Again, the best cure is to write. Perhaps you can start writing about what’s difficult right now, why you’re stuck, and what you would like to be writing about. Reflecting on your writing process can actually kick-start your writing. 

The next two drop-down boxes offer exercises for getting started on your assignment, and for getting back on track if you are stuck. 

Exercise: Free writing

Free writing is an efficient writing method that you can use when writing academic assignments. 

Free writing is uninterrupted speed writing where you use writing as a tool for thinking. It’s a method that can help you produce text in a focused and efficient way - at any time and without feeling inspired. Free writing can be used to: 

  • start writing early in the process. 

  • prevent and overcome writer’s block. 

  • give the text focus. 

  • solve problems during the writing process. 

Free writing exercise 


How to perform the exercise  

  1. Select a topic you want to write about and decide how long you want to write. You can write about anything you like – for example, a specific section for your assignment, or thoughts about your topic in order to get closer to a problem statement. 

  2. Write for the selected interval at high speed. You are writing in a black field so you cannot see your own text - that’s part of the exercise. The purpose is to help you focus on producing text without spending time correcting the text. 

  3. Focus on keeping your fingers moving so you don’t get stuck. Above the black field, you can see the time that has elapsed since the last keystroke. Keep the status bar from turning red by writing filler words until you come up with something relevant - which you will. 

  4. Utilise the time. You’ll get more out of the exercise if you utilise all the time allocated for writing. But if necessary, you can stop the exercise before time is up. 

  5. Edit your text once the exercise is over: correct typos, insert line breaks and correct spelling mistakes. 

  6. Copy your text, paste it into your assignment, and then continue working on it. 

What are you going to write about? 

Usually, your free writing will have something to do with your assignment or an academic topic: What are you going to write about in your assignment, which problem statement are you going to work with, how are you going to move on with a chapter? You can familiarise yourself with the free writing method by writing about any topic that you have just a little knowledge about. In the interactive free writing exercise, you can come up with a topic yourself or you can choose one from a list of options. 

What to do if you get stuck? 

It’s important not to stop the free writing exercise even if you cannot think of anything more to write. Instead, write that you have run out of ideas, or try to write the keyword a few times. If you continue writing, new ideas will often emerge after some time. Things that you would not have thought of if you had stopped the exercise. 

Try again 

For some, producing text without editing it simultaneously is a major challenge. Try it a few times and see how your text and writing develop. Like most other things, free writing is something you can learn. 

Once you have become familiar with the method, you can use it when writing assignments. Create a document in your word processor, turn off the screen, set an alarm, and start writing. You can also do free writing by hand. 

Exercise: Unfold the assignment

The dice method can help you sharpen your focus and direction and make you clearer about the message and aim of your assignment. 

It can be a good tool for generating new ideas, producing material for the assignment, and getting started with your writing. The dice method is based on the idea that you can study a topic by looking at it from different angles, and it’s an effective way to develop new ideas and insights. By moving forward systematically and looking at your topic from one angle at a time, you may get new ideas for your topic and see it from different perspectives. 

The method formulates six different angles from which you can approach your topic, and it can be used: 

  • To make sure all ideas – both good ones and bad ones – are part of the work process from an early stage and are considered potential approaches to the topic. 

  • To clarify the most interesting aspect about your topic and thereby help you develop a problem statement. 

  • To get started with the descriptive, analytical and argumentative sections of the assignment. 

  • To generate new ideas or perspectives on a topic if you get stuck. 

  • To add more nuances to what you already know and thereby give you new material to work with.

Do the dice method


 How to perform the exercise 

The exercise takes 15-30 minutes. The aim is to generate new ideas and insights about your topic. 

  1. Choose a topic. 

  2. Spend 3-6 minutes on each side of the die and write down everything that comes to mind. 

  3. Edit your text once the exercise is over: correct typos, insert line breaks and correct spelling mistakes. 

  4. Copy your text, paste it into your assignment, and then continue working on it. 

See also

Inspiration from assignments by other students

Get a list of thesis titles from your field of study, and draw inspiration from other students’ assignments during your writing process. 

Be present and stay focussed

Do you find it difficult to put your phone away and get off social media when studying? 

  • Try the Forest app to stay focussed on your work. With the app, you will grow a forest on your screen that will become lusher the longer you work. 

  • The Noisli  app creates atmospheric background sound or static noise to help you stay focussed.