“I’ll figure that out . . . when I get the time.”
“I really don’t know how to start!”
“I really should write my essay!”
This common dilemma is expressed over and over again by many people everywhere. The good news is that anybody can write an essay!
There are three main reasons for essays:
- To help you to cohesively construct an argument and defend it on paper.
- To help you develop good written and oral communication skills.
- To help you to figure out how to find information.
Not knowing how to write properly can make your academic life disorganized, stressful and chaotic. By improving your writing skills, you can confidently and quickly finish assignments and write properly throughout your professional career.
Writing an essay can be very simple when you follow these basic steps: choose a topic, define the scope of your essay, create the outline, write the essay and — proofread, proofread, proofread!
The Essay Topic
The first step in writing an essay is to select a topic (if one has not been assigned). In order to define a topic, you should think about the goal of the essay. Is the purpose of the essay to persuade, educate, or describe a topic — or for something else entirely? It is generally helpful to brainstorm ideas by jotting down favorite subjects or thinking of a topic that may be interesting to you.
Define the Scope of the Essay
The next step is to define the scope of your essay. Is the subject matter very broad, or will the essay cover a specific topic with detail-oriented examples? Thinking about the overall topic and scope will help you to begin the writing process.
Create an Outline
The next step is to create the outline. You may think that an outline is an unnecessary, time-consuming task — but this step will actually help save time! An outline will help keep you focused while writing your essay, and help keep you from wandering aimlessly in conducting your research. It should be composed of the main idea of the essay or thesis statement, and the arguments that support it. The outline is often numbered and organized by paragraph, but more abstract outlines will also help to organize and focus your ideas.
Writing the Essay
The subsequent step is writing the essay. The introduction paragraph should begin with an attention grabber. This is a statement the lures the reader into wanting to read the rest of the essay. The next few sentences should be very broad in topic, and should lead to the narrow focus of the thesis statement, which is usually the very last sentence of the introduction paragraph. There are typically three body paragraphs, and each one starts by tackling one of the main ideas presented in the thesis statement. The following sentences should describe and elaborate on the main point. Details of specific examples should be included to strengthen your main ideas. The conclusion paragraph summarizes the essay and provides a final perspective on the main topic. It often begins with a paraphrase of the original thesis statement, and sometimes includes a future prediction based upon the viewpoint presented in the essay.
Proofreading Your Essay
The final step in writing a thesis is proofreading. Proofreading is actually the most important part of writing the essay and is often skipped. A few items to consider when proofreading your essay are the order of the paragraphs, the flow of the sentences, grammar, spelling and the instructions for the assignment. Questions to ask yourself include:
- Does your essay make sense?
- Does each sentence flow to the next sentence well?
- Are there any points that can be made stronger or clearer?
- Are there words that are used frequently?
- Are there any run-on sentences or fragments?
The proofreading process sometimes takes longer than the actual writing process, but this is what makes the difference between a concise and well thought out essay, and a bad essay.
When the process of writing an essay is broken into pieces, the process seems more manageable and easier to complete for the beginner. The process consists of thinking about a topic, creating an outline, writing the essay and proofreading the essay. This makes essay writing an interesting learning experience, and helps the writer express his or her thoughts more clearly, concisely and with more validation.