Writing an essay is something that most of us have done before, unlike writing a novel. Essays are not foreign, but writing a quality essay takes time, planning and effort, which may be overwhelming to some of us. However, by breaking down the process of writing an essay into simple steps, you can write a well-polished essay.
An essay typically contains:
- An introduction
- A body with arguments and evidence
- Could have counterarguments
- Evaluation points
- A conclusion
The above is just a typical essay structure that many adopt, and you can structure your essay in a similar fashion as well. Clearly, an essay and a novel have very different elements and structures.
If you are still unsure of how to write an essay, take a look at these 7 simple steps that will guide you through the entire writing process!
7 Steps to Writing A Good Essay
Here are the 7 steps that will help you write an essay that you will be proud of:
- Understand assignment and audience
- Choose and research topic
- Develop thesis statement
- Writing your essay
- Checking for errors
1. Understand Assignment and Audience
Before you even start writing your essay, you need to fully understand what is required of you and your essay. Clarify any doubts, know the task you have been given before moving on.
Afterwards, you should consider and understand your audience, which is the person or people who will be reading your essay. This will affect the choice of words and writing style of your essay. For instance, if you are writing a thesis paper for your professor, your writing style would be more academically inclined as compared to if you are writing an essay for a friend to read.
Once you are aware of your assignment and audience, you can move on to select the type of essay that will help you achieve your goal of writing. For instance, write a persuasive essay if your aim is to persuade someone of something. Listed below are a couple of essay types:
- Persuasive essay
- Narrative essay
- Expository essay
- Argumentative essay
- Descriptive essay
After you are done with the first step, the next thing to do is to start brainstorming! This is to help you narrow down and choose the topic of your essay and also ensures that your topic will fulfil any essay requirements.
You can brainstorm by the old mind map style, or to just write down everything that is related and make connections from there.
You can also use JotterPad to help you during your brainstorming session by using the Task List option (where you can tick off any possible topic for example) or simply jot down whatever pops up in your head.
3. Choose and Research Topic
From what you have brainstormed, further research on potential topics to gain a better understanding. Use various sources – journal articles, books and reliable websites.
After research, select the topic and ensure that it meets the requirements of the essay, and is also something interesting to you so that you will have the momentum and motivation to continue writing your essay.
It is important to continue to research even after you have chosen your topic so that your essay contains reliable and credible information.
4. Develop Thesis Statement
The thesis statement is the most important part of your essay. It sets the tone of your essay and also gives your reader an understanding of what the paper will be about, in a sentence or two.
Your thesis statement should not be too long as your reader might not follow after a while. Your thesis statement should also not be too broad, you should be able to write points that are in-depth and thorough.
Usually, a thesis statement will consist of two parts:
- A general statement of the topic
- The main arguments/points of your essay
However, this is just a proposed structure, you don’t have to follow it.
After you have your topic, thesis statement and the relevant information from your research, it’s time to craft an outline for your essay before you start writing.
This is the skeleton of your essay which will help to ensure that your essay has a logical flow and that you are not way too off topic.
A simple outline can be like this:
- Thesis statement
- Body: main arguments + evidence to back up
- Topic sentence for each argument
- Any examples
Ensure that you have proper headings and subheadings while outlining so that it will be easier for you when you start writing your essay.
Having a good outline is essential to writing a good essay!
5. Writing Your Essay
Now that you have everything you need; it is time to write your essay.
While many would start from writing an introduction, followed by the body then the conclusion, I mix it up a little.
Keeping my thesis statement in mind, I write a draft introduction first, and then write out my body paragraphs in full, before going back to rewrite my introduction, then my conclusion. This is for those who always have trouble writing an introduction and as a result, can’t move on to the main part of the paper. This technique has worked for me so far!
It’s fine to not follow the order, as long as you go back to each section and write them, and make sure that they flow smoothly to have a coherent essay.
For your introduction, make it interesting to grab the reader’s attention, and also have a well-developed thesis statement so that your reader will follow the arguments of your essay.
For your body paragraphs, ensure that each of them supports your thesis and have the relevant examples and evidence to back up the arguments that you are making.
Additionally, start off each paragraph with a topic sentence, which is essentially a summary of that particular paragraph.
For your conclusion, remember to reinforce your main argument (rephrase your thesis statement if you want) and emphasize on what your essay has argued. It should bring a closure to the topic!
7. Checking for Errors
Once you are done writing your essay, remember to proofread your paper for any spelling, grammatical or logical errors before submitting.
Reread your essay and check if it makes sense to you. You could even ask someone who has no knowledge about the topic you are writing on to read it for you. If they are able to follow your arguments, that means you have written a compelling and great essay!
If you are worried about errors such as spelling and grammar, you can use JotterPad, a novel writing software, when writing your essay. Not only will the app help you to check for any spelling and grammatical errors as you write, it will also help you format the paper as you write, so you can just export and print your essay once you are done proofreading. It’s as simple and fuss-free as that!
These are 7 simple steps that you can follow if you are unsure of how to write a quality essay. It’s important to not only plan your essay before writing it, but to have a good writing software such as JotterPad to aid you in your essay writing process. Additionally, if you’re planning to write a book or novel, you can also use Jotterpad to assist you.