Talking from personal experience, mastering the skill of essay writing can be an incredibly frustrating process. It doesn’t matter how much you try to satisfy your professor and how early you start writing the paper; something always goes wrong and you don’t get the expected grade. Well, nothing is impossible if you stay committed to your goal.
The most important thing to remember is that you need lots of practice to become better. The strategy that worked for me was finding a topic I was really interested in and writing an essay without any fear of “what will my teacher think about it?” As far as the process is concerned, these ten steps will most likely result with a successful outcome:
Think before you act!
Jumping straight to the writing process is one of the most common mistakes I have been doing. Here is my tip: consider the topic carefully. Even the most boring thing has its twist, so try to find it and turn it into the foundation of your thesis. If you have an opportunity to choose your own topic, then write about something that genuinely excites you.
Research and analyze
Now is the time for the most boring part: the research! How come professors are never happy when students use only online sources? I hope they will make their peace with the fact that the online world is not some “unserious environment” that cannot be compared to the library. Until then, we will have to support our essays with actual books and journals.
When researching your topic, be as thorough as possible. Ask questions and find the answers. Taking notes is extremely important at this stage, unless you are a superhuman who has no trouble remembering all the facts and references.
Once you assemble a good base of sources, it’s time to analyze them and decide which ones you will use in your essay. Don’t make the mistake of relying on too many sources; they will confuse not only you, but the reader as well.
The fun part: brainstorming!
I used to skip this step before I realized how fun it was. The best ideas come when you unleash your mind, but still keep it focused on the given topic. Finding the right sources and analyzing them to perfection is never enough; the best essays have a spark of genuine brilliance that identifies the author’s unique thinking patterns.
Onto the real thing: writing
When you identify your best idea after the brainstorming process, you will be ready to start writing. First you should form the thesis that will drive the entire essay towards a logical conclusion. Come up with a concise statement that will allow the reader to understand what the essay is about and why they should read it.
At this point, it would be wise to construct a brief outline and describe what you are going to write in each paragraph. Your essay should contain introduction, few paragraphs with supportive arguments, and a conclusion. If you went through the research, brainstorming, thesis forming and outlining stages carefully, you won’t have any troubles writing the actual essay.
Format, edit and revise
No matter how much you force yourself to like this part, it won’t happen. However, you should never skip it if you want your efforts to result with a good grade. Make sure to maintain proper referencing according to the requested style throughout the entire content. Check your language and polish out the sentence flow, grammar, spelling and syntax, as well as the tone of your essay.
Trust me: thinking about the essay writing steps is harder than following them. Writing an actual essay is not that difficult when you discover a specific angle. Once you start practicing without feeling pressured by deadlines and your teacher’s opinion, you will easily find your groove.