Essay writing can be easy as pie if you follow these quick, clear-cut instructions: 5 minutes of brainstorming, 10 minutes of planning, 30 – 60 minutes of writing and 10 minutes of proofreading. Add to the mix 2 small buckets of sweat and tears, and hey presto! – you’ve got yourself an essay.
Step One – Brainstorming
Ideas are easier than we think to come by but even easier to forget, which is why brainstorming is an essential first step. It’s a good idea to jot down ideas before they escape you, never to be remembered again. Order and structure are not important at this stage. Whatever’s in your head, be it an idea you have for the conclusion or something you want to include in the body, write it down on a piece of rough paper. Now it’s there just in case you want to come back to it later when you’re struggling to write another 50 or so odd words.
Step Two – Planning
Now that you have your ideas down on paper, it’s time to put them in order. What goes where? What am I going to include in the introduction? Should I include quotes and if so, would they go best in the conclusion or in the body? It’s a good idea to draw up a rough outline before you begin work on the actual assignment.
Step Three – The Writing
A typical essay should include these 3 main characteristics:
- The introduction: This is where you should include some background information about the topic, along with some rhetorical questions at the end of the paragraph to make the reader think and to provoke their interest.
- The body: The main part of the essay where you should weigh up any pros and cons and detail the main debate, informing the reader in full detail about the topic at hand. Depending on the word count, it should be divided into different paragraphs. When building an argument, you may want to use discourse markers and opinion linkers, depending on the how you are setting the tone.
- The conclusion: This should be a clear and concise summing-up of the topic discussed in the essay. The conclusion should not be longer than the introduction and it should show where you stand on the issue – it’s what you’ve been leading up to throughout the essay.
Step Four – Proofreading
Coffee not Covfefe! Avoid silly spelling mistakes and correct any bad grammar by spending at least 10 minutes checking your work. The most common essay mistakes include structure, incorrect punctuation, simplistic vocabulary in place of more complex descriptions and the wrong register or tone.
Essays are an important piece of academic writing – whether for school, college or university. They say that good grammar and the ability to produce a written work of high quality is a good indication of intelligence and overall diligence in a person. It doesn’t have to be difficult – with enough practice and patience, anybody could do it! Plan, Produce and Proofread – remember the three P’s and you’re all set.