Tips on How to Write an Essay
So you want to write an essay, be it as a requirement for school or even just a personal indulgence. But as you stare at your blank document, you realize it seems like such a daunting task.
How do you even start? What information should you include? With the many different types of essays out there, the ways of writing a perfect essay are endless.
But for those who want a quick start guide on how to write your next best essay, here are some of the most basic tips for you to ace that next submission or impress your boss.
1. Choose a topic
Of course, no essay could ever start without a topic. When beginning your essay, it’s best to think about what you want to write about, or more importantly, what you need to write about.
Oftentimes, people are tasked to compose essays as part of an academic requirement, or maybe even as a work obligation. Either way, these types usually already have a theme or a topic that’s been pre-determined, making your job way easier.
If all you have to do is write a topic that falls under a certain theme, then a tip for you would be to think outside the box and be creative! Don’t just go for the first idea that comes to mind because if that was your first idea, then chances are, that was someone else’s first idea too—you wouldn’t want to have the same topic as someone else, right?
Now, if you’re just writing an essay for personal reasons, or maybe you’re really just in the mood for it, then thinking of a topic might just be both a blessing and a curse. Having the freedom to choose what you want to write about means that you have the luxury to choose a topic from anything under the sun, but it’s that same variety of choices that makes your decision-making all the more impossible.
A suggestion would be to go about your day and while doing certain errands or actions, create scenarios in your head for how you’re going to write them. Using that technique, you widen your horizons and might even discover some themes and ideas you wouldn't normally have thought of.
2. Brainstorm ideas
After thinking of your main topic or theme, you'll need to include other details and sub-topics to connect to your idea. These ensure that your essay has ample information that will allow the reader to fully understand what you mean. Remember, your goal is to make someone who knows absolutely nothing about your topic understand it just by reading your essay.
One good thing to practice is brainstorming ideas and not getting into writing too quickly. If you let your ideas simmer for a while, there's a good chance that you'll come up with even better ideas and connections.
Be sure to take your time in plotting out your thoughts and pinpointing which ones to include, and which ones aren't all that necessary.
3. Make an outline
Having gathered all the details and relevant information you want to include in your essay, next comes creating an outline.
By laying out all your plans, you're able to visualize how your essay will look. Planning an outline depends solely on you! It could be anything from a graphic organizer or just an itemized list of all the info you want to write about in order. With this, you get to jot down relevant notes, phrases, or even quotes that you don't want to forget once you start writing. Say you suddenly thought of a great closing statement, add that to your outline!
While drafting the outline, be sure to keep in mind the essay’s introduction, body, and conclusion. There are usually specific pieces of information that you should include in each of those three sections.
This is where the fun begins!
You’ve thought about your topic, gathered your sources, and made your outline, now you’re officially prepared to start writing. One thing you have to keep in mind while doing so is making the distinction between your introduction, body, and conclusion clear. As stated in the previous point, these three parts of the essay are very important and have certain structures to them.
In the Introduction, you lay the foundation for your topic. While many writers typically raise a question or paint a scenario that connects to the main theme, how you want to introduce your topic is totally up to you. It’s usually one paragraph long and is the part where you slowly build toward your climax and tease the readers about what your topic may be.
The Body is where you lay down all your information and formally introduce your topic. This is the bulk of where you’ll spend your time on since it’s typically the longest and is very information heavy. To make writing the body easier, be sure to remember “the power of three”. This simply suggests that with your topic, you should enumerate three key points or examples that would help the reader better understand the essay.
Last is the Conclusion. This portion is simply a summary of all the important points brought up in the essay and should be where you give your final message and thoughts about your topic. It is important to remember that you should not be adding any more new information during the conclusion. Once your reader gets to this part, they’ve already been overloaded with information from the body, so the main goal now will be to slowly ease them to the end of the essay.
By now, it’s evident that writing an essay isn’t just going on a rant and writing whatever you wish to write. It needs proper preparation and structure. If you’re not sure which portion to start writing your essay on (Introduction, Body, or Conclusion), you may take a look at your outline and choose the point that resonates with you the most at that moment and start writing from there. You can just fill in the blanks later on.
5. Read your essay out loud
Finally, you’re done writing your essay! But wait, you’re not quite done yet.
Once finishing their essay, most people will just leave it at that, but one important step that most people miss is proofreading their work. By reading through your work again, you’re able to spot grammatical errors, awkward sentences, and typos. One easy way to catch these issues would be to read your essay aloud. Through this, you can physically hear how your essay will be read. This will help you catch any errors, and even see if your sentences and ideas make sense.
6. Spend a few days away from your work then review it again
If you have the time, and you really want to make sure that this essay of yours is the best of the best, try leaving it alone for a couple of days. In the meantime, you can just go about your day as normal. After a few days have passed, read your essay again to see if it still makes sense and has no errors.
This tactic is usually done by authors who want to make sure that their novels and stories are exciting and make sense. What this does is that it “resets” your eyes and refreshes your mind, so the next time you read through your essay, it will be from a brand new perspective.
Essays have been present in our everyday lives for so long and we may not even notice them. Because of the various ways that someone could write an essay, the number of tips for writing one is endless. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to level up your next speech, here are some quick additional tips that could really up your essay-writing game. And hopefully, the next time you write an essay, you’re well prepared.
Less is more. Try to use less words to express your thoughts and ideas. Write shorter essays, or maybe use a word counter and try to complete the essay within certain word limit (e.g 1000 words).
The Thesaurus is your best friend. No one wants to keep reading the same word over and over again in one essay, so it’s best to look for synonyms and switch them up from time to time.
Avoid using the same word in a paragraph more than once or twice. Similar to the 1st additional tip, try to avoid referring to a particular person or thing over and over again. Using pronouns or identifiers could help immensely.
Don't be scared of ending a sentence. Many people seem to think that including a lot of ideas in one sentence is a solid plan, but it only confuses the reader more. Remember, one sentence should just talk about one subject.
Make good use of punctuation. The opposite of people who hate ending sentences are people who love ending them after the first thought. If you were to read it, It. Would. Sound. Like. This. because of how choppy it sounds. In conclusion, it’s all about balance–mix in some simple and compound sentences in that paragraph!
Published on 16 Dec 2022