1. Check your email to be sure the paper is still due in 12 hours. If there is an extension or cancellation of any sort, why would you cramp your style by starting now? Refresh your email once more because: Skipper, Bob.
2. This is probably the time to take up that new hobby you have always wanted to try. Maybe it is knitting, or running, or origami. Maybe you always wished you knew how to play the trombone. Did you have a pen-pal in 5th grade who might be wondering how you are? Who wants to live with regrets? #carpediem, #yolo, #etc.
3. Pull out the syllabus (possibly for the first time since January/August) and do intense calculations about what your minimal grade would have to be for you to still pass the class. This sets the tone for the level of desperation in your writing straight away. Of course, you don’t intend to earn the minimal grade, but you need to know worst case scenario in case the rest of this process goes badly.
4. Determine how much room you can take at the top of the first page for the header and not rouse the suspicions of your professor that you just do not (and will never) have 8-10 pages in you about your assigned topic. In cases of extreme page length deficit, experiment with spacing, font, and header content.
5. At this point in time, it will become critical that you clean/organize something that you have not cleaned/organized since, well, never. Whatever you do, do not attempt to organize ANYTHING without first reading some articles on Pinterest or Tumblr about the proper way to organize before you commence with sock drawer, desk, closet, or fridge arrangement. If you are working in Mass Media lab, feel free to untangle all the computer wires instead. In the library? Rearrange all the books by color.
6. Consider actually writing something. Shake it off and check Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps make status update bemoaning being up late writing a paper due tomorrow. Listen for notifications of commiseration, sympathy, or a comment from your professor telling you that you know this stuff well enough, forget the paper.
7. Your professor might not be on Facebook. Maybe it snowed. Refresh email (refer to #1).
8. Stress eat everything in your recently alphabetized cabinets and fridge and then order pizza. Do not begin writing before pizza arrives as the distraction of delivery person would be crippling to your productivity.
9. Weep uncontrollably on your keyboard. Even if you are in public. Sure, people will judge you, but this is the beginning of the acceptance stage. Make blood vow that you will never do this to yourself again.
10. Remember that you are a Hilltopper and you have been well-prepared for this. You’ve got this. Tell yourself: “you’ve got this!” out loud while looking into your mirror. And Write.
Appendix: If you are not on Step 10 yet in your process, you can always follow us @WKUMarketing on Twitter or Facebook.com/WKUMarketing where we are likely posting content as a procrastination mechanism right this second.