Writing. Not exactly everyone’s cup of tea, and with good reason too. See, writing may seem easy, but putting down thoughts in a continuous, error free manner takes a lot of practice, time, and paper. It’s not as hard as rocket science though. With a few steps and tips on how to do it, writing an essay can be a fun and enjoyable experience. Like John Trimble once said, ‘…write as if the person you are talking to is right there, and has a sense of humor and an appreciation for simple straightforwardness”.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the 10 easy steps you can use to write an essay you can brag about.
1. Do your research
It pays to have a solid base of information from which you can draw your opinions and arguments from. As such, pay a visit to the library, visit online databases, and ask around. The purpose of doing this is to make yourself an expert in the topic, so that should you be required to defend your content, you will do it with ease. It most probably won’t come to that, but you have to be prepared in any case. Besides, a well-researched essay is much enjoyable to read than a poorly done one.
2. Analyze the content
You have done the research, spent countless hours at the library and in front of the computer screen, and written enough notes to make your fingers sore. Now comes the next part, the analysis stage. At this point, you want to go over the various arguments for your essay, the selling points if you will. Clearly define them and back them up with the knowledge that you have garnered. Look for any potential weak points, and identify the strong logic. It helps if you have essays written by others, so you know how to go about the process.
3. Think on your own
As much as you will rely on researched material to come up with your essay, it still needs your individual touch of brilliance. This will only come about as a result of brainstorming; going deep inside your thoughts to come up with your personal arguments. The best way to do this is to ask yourself a dozen questions and come up with the answers by yourself. If you can’t come up with the answer, take a walk, meditate, anything to help you come up with original thoughts. Remember to always have a pen and notebook in hand, even when you’re sleeping, so you can jot down streams of thoughts as they come to you.
4. Come up with the thesis for your essay
Once you’ve answered all the questions and written down all the possible ideas and logic points, it is time to choose the best one that the whole essay will be written on. Call it the elimination stage if you will, but the purpose is to be left with a central idea that can be summed up in a clear and concise statement. This statement will let the reader know where the essay is headed, and why. Check out the best essays on whatever topic, they have a clear statement of purpose.
5. Sketch it out
Just like a graphic designer will sketch out his design before drawing it in detail, outline your essay before putting it down on paper. As a tip, use short descriptive sentences to represent what each paragraph will be about, and bullet points to show what the paragraphs will contain. Play around with the order of things, until your reach a structure that you are comfortable with. One that also brings out your argument in a clear and straightforward manner.
6. Start writing
You still with me? Good. At this point you are going to start putting the essay down on paper. You want to capture the reader’s attention from the get-go, so let your introduction be captivating. It should inform the reader of what the essay is all about, and lead into the main argument.
Alternatively, you can start off with a good title, then begin with an equally able first paragraph. These two are the most important parts of your essay. The first paragraph can either hook your reader, or bore them. You don’t want the latter case, so make it intriguing.
7. Pay attention to the paragraphs
Every paragraph should convey its own individual idea, which ultimately supports the essay’s thesis. Start every paragraph with a topic sentence, then follow this with clear, concise statements. Give illustrations and examples where appropriate. Remember what we said about the reader; speak to them as if they are right in front of you.
8. Wrap it up
You’ve jotted down the whole essay, put forward your arguments, and supported them in every way possible. Now it’s time to close shop. Conclusions can be tricky, so you want to be as graceful as possible. You can choose to do a quick recap of the whole essay, or go with a quotation, thought, or what marketers use, a call to action. If there is something that you want the reader to do after they have read the essay, let them know at that point.
Something to note about conclusions: Don’t make it too lengthy. A couple of sentences should do the trick, or a small paragraph if you choose to summarize things.
9. Format rules
If your essay has to adhere to certain formatting styles (MLA, Chicago, Oxford, to name a few), then make sure to do so. Any borrowed passages, quotes, and ideas should be cited in the text, and followed up by a References page. List all sources that you may have used.
10. Proofread your work
You may do every bit of the last 9 steps correctly, but overlooking this last one ay ruin a perfectly written essay. Your work is not done until you go over it with a fine tooth comb, correcting all grammatical, and punctuation mistakes. Not only that, but also adjusting the flow of language, tense, tone, and rhythm. Let the essay read how you want it to sound.
Doing all this has probably taken more than a few days, a week maybe? You are done in any case, and you have done a wonderful job. Now submit the essay, and let the world know that a new essay writer is on the up and rising.