Generating internal feelings of false progress while trying to write a paper is key to maintaining feelings of dignity and self-worth in the glaring, white face of page one.

Here are a few tips for convincing yourself that page eight is right around the corner.

1. Type in single space for a page at a time.

When you've finished the first page, highlight everything and change the paragraph format to “double space.” KABAAAM!!! TWO PAGES!! It's like David Copperfield performing magic for Harry Houdini. Be sure to switch the third page back to single space and forget you ever saw the trick, only to remember after doing this three times that one of your friends already showed you the trick in fourth grade.

2. Tell everyone who asks and five people who didn't that you've only got one page left.

Start to believe it.

3. Go to the bathroom, splash hot water on your face, and sigh deeply.

Kind of reminiscent of a congratulatory pit stop at a rest area after driving for five straight hours on the interstate. Continue to rub water all over your face, then look at yourself in the mirror as if you've just rounded the ninth kilometer of a 10K marathon in 95 degree heat and say with conviction and monologuish solidarity, “Come on, you can do it. Just eight more pages to go.” (That is, if runners grabbed mirrors during the last legs of marathons.)

4. Stop writing.

Pretend you're done. Get eight hours of sleep. Wake up refreshed.

5. Press “Enter” until you reach the ninth page and start typing the bibliography first.

For at least thirty minutes, the bottom left of Microsoft Word will show “Page 9 Sec 1 9/9”.

6. Write one paragraph.

Immediately become over-protective of your work by saving your paper to four different places under the name “EIGHT PAGE PAPER.” Print out all eight pages, staple them together and begin preliminary proofreading.

7. Change the font size from “12 pt” to “8 pg”.

If, after typing your name, your paper exceeds the page limit, try either sizing down to “4 pg”, expanding the margins, or altering the font to “Times New Roman Vatican City”.

8. Tuck your right arm inside a baggy sweatshirt.

Email your professor explaining how two pages is actually a lot for one arm in a night. Wear the same sweatshirt to class and continue to keep your arm hidden.

9. .dne eht ta gnitrats sdrawkcab repap ruoy etirW

(Write your paper backwards starting at the end.)

10. And finally (my personal favorite), don't actually try to fool yourself into thinking you're making progress on your paper, just go back in time to when you weren't worried about writing it.

Wherever you live, schedule a flight westward and fight the rising sun. To be completely effective, you'll need to go far enough to cross the International Date Line so it will be yesterday. Unfortunately, since continuing to encircle the globe westwards will not allow you to accumulate multiple days on credit, you'll need to return to this list eventually and consult numbers 1-9 again.


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