Looking to get started with your essay writing?
To write an excellent academic essay, you need to follow a proper writing process to translate your set of ideas into a persuasive argument.
Some college students tend to start writing directly but often fail to answer the assignment, resulting in subpar work.
What’s worse, you may find yourself spending more time than you actually need to make fixes and edit your messy work.
No matter how good a writer you are, anyone can benefit from using a proper framework to write their essay. It will help you write an excellent essay in one sitting and not lose your calm.
Now, let's look into the steps of writing an essay. Following this process will allow anyone to write a top-notch paper in a matter of hours.
1. Choose a topic
Regardless of what type of essay you are writing, the first step is to understand the prompt.
Your assignment may need you to answer a specific question or give you the freedom to choose your topic. However, don't jump into writing the first subject that comes to your mind.
Instead, you want to spend some time researching and selecting the best topic that will most likely give you a high grade. Consider the purpose of your essay and make sure the topic you choose can reflect it.
When choosing your topic, you want to avoid common subjects that are often discussed or narrow issues that won't give you much to write about.
One quick tip is to think about broad subjects that interest you and narrow it down by limiting it to specific geography, culture, or time. You can always check a few ideas with your instructor to see if they are worth turning into an essay.
2. Brainstorm and research
Next, brainstorm and research the topic you have chosen. You can start by quickly jotting down what you already know about the subject. Then, think critically and get some keywords or questions to dig deeper.
You can then find the answers to your predetermined question and easily record any helpful information you came across along with your sources.
Take note of ideas, discussions, quotations, or examples you would like to include in your writing, along with the resource to make citation and references easier down the line.
If you have time, put in the extra effort to research beyond your course textbooks. Use varied sources of information like journals, newspapers, and online resources to learn more.
Reading more literature on the topic will give you a broader view, and you can offer a fresh perspective that will add points to your essay.
3. Develop a thesis statement
One of the steps of writing an essay is putting together your thesis statement. This is key to tell readers the purpose of your paper.
Even if your assignment doesn't ask a specific question, you still need a thesis statement to show your primary idea.
It should also clearly state your position about the topic and offer readers the direction of the essay. Generally, you want to craft a concise sentence that shows a debatable argument.
4. Create an essay outline
A good outline makes writing easier and more efficient. After developing your ideas and arguments, it's time to build your essay outline.
It can be as simple as scribbling your ideas into a mind map or fully stretching it out in a basic outline form. The idea here is to organize the arguments and evidence you gathered.
You should never skip this step when writing your essay. This will help structure your writing and see how you can fit each of your important ideas while maintaining the logical flow.
Ideally, each paragraph in your body should only contain one main idea and relevant elaboration and details.
A quick pro writing tip is to have your two most decisive points in your body's first and last paragraph to better persuade your readers.
5. Plan your writing
As much as you research your topic, your essay can't be completed unless you start writing. And we understand, as a college student, it can get busy juggling between classes, clubs, and attending socializing events.
But it is crucial to plan your writing into your calendar earlier to avoid chasing deadlines. Writing an essay shouldn't mean sleepless nights, and it's easy to make mistakes with last-minute works.
So if you are looking to get a distinction grade on your essay, you need to start writing earlier. This is especially important if you're handling a super long report that requires you to write 10,000 words, for example.
In the case of such a massive project, you need to break it down into manageable steps like writing 1,000 words a day.
When planning, set realistic deadlines that take into account the delay time and planning fallacies. Because even the most professional authors tend to underestimate the complexity or amount of time needed to finish their writing.
For better estimation, we recommend that you record yourself when you are writing to gather more accurate insights.
Here’s an interesting video by Top 5 Education on how to plan your essay.
6. Write your introduction
How you start your essay is key to writing an essay that stands out. You need to attract the reader's attention in the beginning with a hook.
Even though you may be writing a formal academic essay, you are still writing for an audience, and you'd want to make sure your piece is memorable and able to grab your instructor's attention.
You can use a story, dialogue, shocking statistics, or a quote, as long as it is exciting and ties into the thesis statement.
Also, make sure to provide some context and introduce your topic. This should then be followed by your thesis statement to let readers know what the essay is about.
7. Write the body paragraphs
This is the part of the writing that supports your thesis statement and builds up the argument of your essay. It is supposed to explain, describe or argue your topic.
A good body paragraph comprises a topic sentence, further elaboration, and is backed up by credible evidence. It also should relate back to the broader topic and make sense to your reader.
Using this structure will keep your paragraph focused on the main idea and provide clear, concise information.
When transitioning from one point to another, make sure you close each paragraph properly by reinforcing the main point and linking it to the next.
Throughout the essay, actively integrate the work of others to show credible evidence. But don't forget to cite every reference and material you have used appropriately.
8. Write the conclusion
In the final section of your essay, the conclusion is your chance to leave readers with a favorable impression of your work.
As a rule of thumb, it should reaffirm your answer to the question. That means writing a brief summary of your prior arguments in about three to five sentences.
Note that: your conclusion should not contain any new information. Rephrase your thesis statement once again, and draw your points together to amplify your argument.
To bring it to the next level, you can also end by reflecting on the broader significance of the topic or with a thoughtful question that will leave your readers pondering.
9. Proofread and edit
Your essay is not completed just yet. Having completed your writing, you must take a second look at your draft to add the finishing touches.
Read through your whole essay to check the flow and structure of your essay. Ensure the correct format is used and that your strongest points appear in the first and last paragraphs within the body.
See if your essay answers the assignment and if there are ways you can strengthen your argument. Pay attention to every paragraph to see if your topic sentence is supported by evidence or examples.
Check the grammar, spelling errors, and punctuation to make sure your essay is impeccable. Remove any fluff and irrelevant sections, add variety to your expressions and avoid overusing vocabulary or transitions.
If you still have some time before the deadline, you can also get a reliable friend to read it and ask their opinions. An alternative option is giving your essay to a professional proofreading service.
10. Do a plagiarism check
There are definitive ways to avoid plagiarism during writing. We recommend that you check your essay using a plagiarism tool to make sure it meets academic integrity.
Check your citations and references to see if they are done correctly. Review your essay with Copyscape or Turnitin to avoid any accidental plagiarism.
Once you're done, it's all ready to be submitted!
Quick Checklist: 10 Steps to Write an Essay
Essay writing is so much easier if you know the proper methods, and that's why here's the ultimate essay writing checklist.
- Understand your essay prompt and choose a suitable topic;
- Brainstorm and research a variety of resources;
- Develop your thesis statement;
- Create your essay outline;
- Plan your writing schedule;
- Write your introduction;
- Write your body paragraphs;
- Write a conclusion;
- Proofread and edit your work;
- Do a plagiarism check.
Now that you know the steps of writing an essay make sure to put it into practice to become a more efficient writer.
Last edit at Jul 27 2023