How to Write an Essay
What is the first thought that comes to mind when you hear essay writing? Probably a 5-paragraph essay. It’s the easiest one, right? But there are over 20 types, each with its own purpose and specifics for writing. Nonetheless, all of them have pretty much the same structure.
We should always start with the basics, and the basic structure for any paper is introduction, body and conclusion. This is even true for creative writing, which is freer of rules and regulations. Even so, as with any other competent piece of writing, it should have a clear sense of structure.
Now, you know what to expect in a paper. The first step after identifying your topic (or, at least, its scope) is to gather information. It’s important that you don’t repeat somebody’s research if there is nothing more to contribute by doing so. Read a few recent articles and posts about your issue to find out what people have already discussed and what questions still need to be addressed. These unanswered questions should be your focus. Once you have identified them, start brainstorming ideas for your essay,
Essay writing is not the most difficult type of writing. With the right approach to the issue and good time-management, it doesn’t require in-depth research. It is more designed to evaluate how well you have learned the lessons at school and how well you can utilize your skills. Yet, to make your essay interesting and original, you should look for an argument that is unique, one not previously offered.
Essay in 9 Steps
- Decide on a topic for which you feel passionate.
- Research your topic. Take notes on information or statistics worth mentioning.
- Brainstorm ideas for the essay body paragraphs.
- Define your argument, make clear your position on the issue.
- Draft the body paragraphs.
- Write the conclusion - a short summary of the main points you’ve mentioned.
- Write the introduction and format your thesis statement to fit the tone of your work.
- Take a break.
- Rearrange the body paragraphs if needed. Edit and proofread the complete essay.
The first thing to remember is that you don’t have to follow a structure chronologically while drafting the essay. Only the conclusion has to be written last. You can rearrange all paragraphs just before editing the work.
Essay Writing Tips
- Topics. Most of the time we’re given a list of topics from which to choose, and we also have to develop an interesting, descriptive title. You need to be careful about what topic you choose so that it is interesting to both you and your intended audience. A good course of action is to google each potential topic and make notes on what might be interesting about it. Choose the one that has most potential for writing something original and valuable. If you are assigned a specific topic, still Google it and write down ideas worth mentioning in your essay.
- Thesis statement. This is a sentence or two that introduces your argument at the beginning of the essay. You don’t have to write the introductory paragraph right away, but you should have a clear idea about what your essay will discuss and its purpose.
- Brainstorm. A way to brainstorm is to ask as many question as you can about your topic. First, this will help you find direction for research. Second, it will help you to develop your thesis statement and outline for the essay.
- Body structure. Develop a paragraph for each point in support of your argument and arrange the paragraphs in a logical manner. You can try alternating simple and more complicated ideas so that it is easier to focus on the argument, but be consistent. One after another, the paragraphs should lead to a logical conclusion.
- Introduction and conclusion. The first paragraph should introduce what you are going to discuss in the body of your paper. Provide some time for the introduction, as it is the first part your audience will read, and it influence whether or not they keep reading. On the other hand, the concluding paragraph summarizes all main points you’ve made. It can introduce a question you want the readers to ask themselves but it should never introduce new ideas.
- Language. Avoid writing in first person. Instead, use third person and use gender neutral sentences. Also, avoid using passive voice. Unless it is creative writing or a reflection paper, always make you essay sound professional.
If you need help beyond any tips and tricks you can find on the Internet, a good idea is to get an example essay. Preferably, buy one to be sure you have a quality example.