You can write term papers fast if you keep three things in mind. First, you want to write on topics that you know well. Second, you want to keep your books and references ready to hand. And last but not least, you will want to write in such a way that you don’t need to do too much rewriting.
TOPICS YOU KNOW WELL
Of course it helps to write about things that you know well. This allows you the luxury of writing from memory or from your own internal database of knowledge and experience. For example, if Jimi Hendrix were writing an essay about stage performing it is a rather sure bet that he would be better equipped to do so that a girl from Texas, say, who had never attended a concert, let alone gone onstage herself.
That writing about topics we know well makes it easier to write is self-evident. But the boldest writers venture into new fields and try their hand at new topics all the time. This is why, for instance, Tom Wolfe was able to write about architecture, literature, and LSD during his career. Nothing stopped him from venturing into new territory and striking out on his own. He even wrote a book about the astronauts (The Right Stuff).
BOOKS CLOSE BY
Keeping your books close by your desk is another great tip for writers. For example, Henry Miller kept reference material close to his desk all the time. He often would tack photos on the wall over his desk to help him write descriptions of places. Like Miller, you should not hesitate to bring your reference material right to your desk and let it stay there in plain sight while you work up the courage to tackle another blank page. In this way you’ll motivate yourself and everyone who sets eyes on your pages.
Many teachers will tell you repeatedly that you need to rewrite your material to get it into final shape. While this may be true if you’re writing a book or an article for publication, in most cases college students don’t have either the time or the inclination to go back and rewrite an essay in a way that would improve it. Mostly this reticence about going back and editing stems from living a spoiled childhood. So many writers grew up coddled infants and now that they are adults they find it difficult to even make a step forward without the kind of advice and support that is usually only reserved for bank presidents and leading politicos. Don’t be fooled by all of this; you don’t need to rewrite if you get it right the first time.
One of the greatest proponents of not rewriting was Isaac Asimov. He was a terrific science fiction writer (author of Fantastic Voyage, and The Foundation Trilogy). But he wrote so fast and about so many different topics that he said he didn’t like to rewrite and never resorted to that writer’s stratagem unless he was forced to do so. In the end only you, the writer, can decide whether or not to rewrite. But if you can avoid it, by all means do so if you are writing a term paper. Let your professor wade through your first draft. He’ll probably consider it a more academic style and one more like his own convoluted style.