Essay Writing Tips:
The Writing Process
There are some important steps in the writing process. Here is an article that explains each step: The Writing Process.
Prewriting will include brainstorming ideas, creating an outline of what you want your essay to look like, and finding information and sources. Most essays will use a main structure that includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. There are smaller details within these sections of an essay. You can find some prewriting strategies here:
Drafting is when you begin writing your essay. You need to get all of your ideas on paper and start connecting them to each other and to your sources (if you have any). You don't have to worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation at this stage. Just focus on what you're trying to convey in your paper. The following article explains how to start writing and organizing each section of your essay: The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay.
Revising is the stage in which you read back through your paper to make sure what you're saying is clear. You'll check to see if you need to include any additional sources, if you need to explain an idea more in-depth, if you could word something differently to make your point more effective. It is still not necessary to worry about grammar, punctuation, or spelling at this stage. Just focus on what you're trying to say in your essay. What's your message, and is it clear to readers? You may have multiple drafts of a paper. You might ask a peer or instructor to read through one of your drafts as well. One issue many students face is finding the right words to use to make their point as clear as can be. You can use thesaurus.com to find synonyms for any words that just don't feel as strong as they can be. Check out this article to learn how to revise your first draft: How to Revise Drafts.
Finally, you just have to edit your paper. This is the stage in which you go over all of the technical aspects of your paper, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This should not be done until your essay is fully revised and your message is clear. You will likely be changing wording up to this point, so it is left until the very end. This is when you also need to check your paper for plagiarism as well. At the top of the Grammar and Mechanics section of this LibGuide, you can find links to help you check the grammar through Grammarly and how to check your paper for plagiarism. Here are a couple of those links:
Parts of an Essay
This introduces the contents of your essay. Be specific about what your essay will be about. This is where you will introduce your main points, but avoid including any details that will be discussed in the body paragraphs. Within your introduction, be sure to include your thesis statement, which sums up the overall purpose of your paper. The thesis statement is the most important part of your introduction. Here is an article to help you get started: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Thesis Statement.
The body of your essay will include multiple paragraphs, at least one for each of your points. This is where you will include all of your details and evidence (quotations or information from sources you found in the prewriting process). You might order your paragraphs chronologically or in order of importance or relevance based on your main points. This is where you can explain your position. Give examples, include evidence, and most importantly, include explanations of your thoughts on the topic. Your instructors want to hear what you have to say, not what someone else you found on Google has to say. In the revising process, you will want to make sure your body paragraphs flow well. If someone else were to read your essay, would it make sense to them? Would they be able to make a decision about the topic you're discussing? If you need some help writing your body paragraphs, you can check out the following article:
Your conclusion should wrap up your paper. You can restate your main points, but don't just copy and paste them. View this as the last word of an argument. What would you say to someone to convince them that you are right? Even if your paper is not argumentative, you are still likely trying to make some sort of point. What would help you get your point across to your readers? Give your reader something to think about. Conclusions are arguably the hardest part of an essay to write, so you can read the following article to get some ideas: