Warning: Brief Hamlet spoilers.
When I write papers, I often find it useful to notes and stuff. That helps me to figure out what the heck I'm going to write about.
Pro Tip: Don't wait until 9 P.M. the night before a paper's due to start working on it. Even if it is only a 300-word essay. Because then the universe will do everything it can to prevent you from finishing the paper.