Learning how to write an essay can be a
maddening, exasperating process, but it doesn't have to be.
If you know the steps and understand what to do, writing can
be easy and even fun.
This site, "How
To Write an Essay: 10 Easy Steps," offers a ten-step
process that teaches students how to write an essay. Links
to the writing steps are found on the left, and additional
writing resources are located across the top.
Learning how to write
an essay doesn't have to involve so much trial and error.
Brief Overview of the 10 Essay Writing Steps
Below are brief summaries of each of the ten
steps to writing an essay. Select the links for more info on any
particular step, or use the blue navigation bar on the left to proceed
through the writing steps. How To Write an
Essay can be viewed sequentially, as if going through ten sequential
steps in an essay writing process, or can be explored by individual
Research:Begin the essay writing process by researching your
topic, making yourself an expert. Utilize the internet, the academic
databases, and the library. Take notes and immerse yourself in the
words of great thinkers.
Now that you have a good knowledge base, start analyzing
the arguments of the essays you're reading. Clearly define the claims,
write out the reasons, the evidence. Look for weaknesses of logic,
and also strengths. Learning how to write an essay begins by learning
how to analyze essays written by others.
Brainstorming: Your essay
will require insight of your own, genuine essay-writing brilliance.
Ask yourself a dozen questions and answer them. Meditate with a
pen in your hand. Take walks and think and think until you come
up with original insights to write about.
4. Thesis: Pick
your best idea and pin it down in a clear assertion that you can
write your entire essay around. Your thesis is your main point,
summed up in a concise sentence that lets the reader know where
you're going, and why. It's practically impossible to write a good
essay without a clear thesis.
5. Outline:Sketch out your essay before straightway writing it out.
Use one-line sentences to describe paragraphs, and bullet points
to describe what each paragraph will contain. Play with the essay's
order. Map out the structure of your argument, and make sure each
paragraph is unified.
Now sit down and write the essay. The introduction should grab the
reader's attention, set up the issue, and lead in to your thesis.
Your intro is merely a buildup of the issue, a stage of bringing
your reader into the essay's argument.
(Note: The title and first paragraph are probably the most important
elements in your essay. This is an essay-writing point that doesn't
always sink in within the context of the classroom. In the first
paragraph you either hook the reader's interest or lose it. Of course
your teacher, who's getting paid to teach you how to write an essay,
will read the essay you've written regardless, but in the real world,
readers make up their minds about whether or not to read your essay
by glancing at the title alone.)
Each individual paragraph should be focused on a single idea
that supports your thesis. Begin paragraphs with topic sentences,
support assertions with evidence, and expound your ideas in the
clearest, most sensible way you can. Speak to your reader as if
he or she were sitting in front of you. In other words, instead
of writing the essay, try talking the essay.
Gracefully exit your essay by making a quick wrap-up sentence,
and then end on some memorable thought, perhaps a quotation, or
an interesting twist of logic, or some call to action. Is there
something you want the reader to walk away and do? Let him or her
know exactly what.
9. MLA Style:Format your essay according to the correct guidelines for
citation. All borrowed ideas and quotations should be correctly
cited in the body of your text, followed up with a Works Cited (references)
page listing the details of your sources.
You're not done writing your essay until you've polished
your language by correcting the grammar, making sentences flow,
incoporating rhythm, emphasis, adjusting the formality, giving it
a level-headed tone, and making other intuitive edits. Proofread
until it reads just how you want it to sound. Writing an essay can
be tedious, but you don't want to bungle the hours of conceptual
work you've put into writing your essay by leaving a few slippy
misppallings and pourly wordedd phrazies..
You're done. Great job. Now move over Ernest Hemingway a
new writer is coming of age! (Of course Hemingway was a fiction
writer, not an essay writer, but he probably knew how to write an
essay just as well.)
My Promise: The Rest of This Site Will Really
Teach You How To Write an Essay
For half a dozen years I've read thousands of college essays and taught
students how to write essays, do research, analyze arguments, and
so on. I wrote this site in the most basic, practical way possible
and made the instruction crystal clear for students and instructors
to follow. If you carefully follow the ten steps for writing an essay
as outlined on this site honestly and carefully follow them
you'll learn how to write an essay that is more organized,
insightful, and appealing. And you'll probably get an A.
Now it's time to really begin. C'mon, it will be fun. I promise
to walk you through each step of your writing journey.