Writing an essay comes naturally for some but can be difficult for others. This is why we’ve put together a list of some top tips that will help you get your ideas across when you need to write an essay for school or anything else.
1. Know Your Topic
Whether you create your topic or it is assigned to you, research to fully understand it before you set a claim or start writing. If you don’t understand the topic, ask for clarity first, then do a bit more research until you have an excellent foundation to begin with. If you haven’t been assigned a topic, you can create your own or use a generator to help if you don’t know what to write about.
2. Know Your Purpose
What is your essay trying to do? Is it persuasive? Argumentative? Compare and contrast? Expository? The purpose of your essay will affect the tone of the writing and the general composition. It may mean a more personal essay with ‘I’ or a more formal essay.
3. Get Organized
Create an outline of what you are going to say when you write an essay. Lay out the number of paragraphs you need and what will be written in each of them. This is a place for bullet points and short notes. You can also add a source list (or potential source list) to your outline or plan. A sample layout may look like this:
- Most compelling argument
- Second most compelling argument
- Third most compelling argument
- First counter-argument
- Second counter-argument
4. Get Some Help
Don’t be afraid to reach out for some help creating the essay you need. Whether it’s a small amount of support in grammar, or writing for a paper, or you’re looking for someone to ‘write my essay for me,’ it’s easy to find assistance with Studybay.
5. State Your Claim
Your essay needs a central point or claim to it. Ensure that the claim is clearly stated in your first paragraph to avoid confusion. This also makes it easier for you to stay on topic while writing the rest of the essay.
6. Back it Up
Use sources throughout your essay. You may have a requirement to use a set number. Even if you don’t, sources help make your point and paint you as an authority on the subject. If you make any claims look for references to back them up. These could include:
7. Counter It
Most types of essays require a counter-argument paragraph (or two) that expresses something that a critic would say against your topic. You then need to explain why that claim is invalid or what counteracts the importance of that claim in some way.
8. Get it Out
Just write. Once you have the topic, claim, and outline, just write it all out. Don’t worry about grammar, flow, or even spelling at this point. You just want to get everything out and have something on the paper that you can work with. Once you write an essay and it’s down, you can go through and improve/fix anything necessary.
9. Be Variable
Vary your word choice, sentence length, and even your paragraph lengths. This gives a little more variety to the essay itself and keeps your audience reading. While school essays don’t require this as much (your instructor must read your essay), it is essential for anything you choose to publish. Variety will keep reading on task.
10. Stay Active
Use active voice, which helps draw the reader into your paper. Passive voice is boring, and an entire essay of it will make the reader stop paying attention. Active voice creates a vivid impression.
11. Use Words You Know
It can be tempting to use large or complex words in your essay but avoid this if you do not fully understand them. Using words you don’t know can mean misusing them. This can hurt your credibility or change the entire meaning of sentences and claims.
12. Lay it Out
Set your essay in the proper format with paragraphs, transitions between those paragraphs, and proper punctuation. This is the most challenging part for many because it is the technical aspect of writing. Creating transitions and ensuring that paragraphs make sense and flow together takes time and effort, which is why you may look for assistance with essay writing.
Always read through your essay writing more than once before turning it in. You may have spelling or grammatical errors that you do not notice the first time or the first five times. You may have a continuity error, rambling, or poor arguments in some areas of the essay. All of these things can be found through revision:
- Write your essay
- Read it out loud
- Read for content
- Read for formatting
14. Cite Your Sources
Unless your essay is about a personal experience, you must cite sources. This gives more credibility to your writing and ensures you won’t be charged with plagiarism. Be sure to use the proper citation method as required by your instructor. This could be MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, or others.
15. Get a Proofreader
You don’t need to necessarily hire someone for your proofreading, but you do want to make sure that you have someone else read through your essay before you’re ready to turn it in. It’s easy to get blinders when you spend so long working on an essay. You start to read what you think you wrote or intended to write rather than what’s on the page. A second set of eyes can help with that.
When it comes to writing a quality essay, you must follow a few basic steps and a few additional steps that make the content better. However, for those who need further assistance, there are several ways to get support along the way. Take that essay entirely off your plate with someone to write your essay for you.