Essay Writing Tips

Instructor: Kimberly McLaughlin

Kimberly has taught Middle School Language Arts for 9 years and has a Master's Degree in Secondary Education.

When given the assignment to write an essay, it can be overwhelming and seem like a daunting task to some. In this lesson, you will learn about some tips that will break down essay writing and help make it a less dreaded thing to do.

Writing an Essay

When some people hear the word 'essay,' there is usually an unhappy groan that follows. This is because writing an essay can be a hard thing for some to feel comfortable doing. It doesn't have to be this way if you can break down writing the essay into simple steps. If you look at an essay as many small easy tasks, then completing the whole essay shouldn't be that daunting. Here are some essay writing tips that will help you do just that.

Essay Writing Tips

The writing process is something that can be an extremely useful tool when writing your essay. The first step of the writing process is prewriting, which is a technique that helps you discover and explore ideas you have about a topic. This is a helpful part of the process to complete, especially when you don't know what to write about.

Let's say your teacher tells you to write about something you love. Well, that could be many things. So, in order to get started, you would need to do some prewriting activities. A great prewriting tool is to brainstorm all the possibilities that your essay could be about. Write these down, put them into categories, list them from least important to most important, etc. Try to come up with ways to narrow down your possible essay topic. Once you have picked your topic, you can get started on the next step of prewriting.

The next step is still considered prewriting, but you will begin to put down specific things you want to write about concerning your topic. A great way to do this is to create a prewriting bubble web. In this web, you will put your main topic in the middle and circle it. Out from this topic, you will draw five lines (or however many paragraphs you want your essay to be) with large circles at the ends of each line. Each of these circles will represent a paragraph for your essay. You will not write sentences in these circles, but lists of specific things you will write about in your paragraph.

One circle will be your introduction, where you will list how you want to introduce your topic. Three (or as many as you need) of your circles will be about three major ideas you want to write about concerning your topic. These bubbles represent the body of your essay. And the last circle will be your conclusion, where you will list how you want to wrap up your essay.

Once you have your ideas mapped out into some sort of map or outline, you should be ready to start your essay. This map helps you organize your thoughts and ideas so that actually writing the essay isn't hard at all.

The next step is to draft your essay. The most important thing about this step is to not stress too much about making mistakes. In this writing process step, you want to get your organized thoughts and ideas that you listed in your map and put them into controlled, well-thought-out sentences. You are basically expanding your lists, or bubbles, into sentences and paragraphs. Make sure you begin your essay with an introduction, continue with the body, and end with a conclusion.

Your introduction should include a catchy opening (a question or quick fact) and a brief summary of the main ideas you are going to write about in your essay. The body of your essay is all the important information you want to share about your topic. This will be the largest part of your essay. Finally, you want to end with your conclusion, where you will restate the main ideas from you essay. Your conclusion will resemble your introduction but will not be the exact same. Once you have all of your paragraphs written out and rough draft completed, you will need to go on to the next step of the writing process.

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