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What Are the Main Steps in Writing an Essay?

Many students struggle writing essays because they don’t know where to start or don’t know all of the major components that go into writing an essay. They believe that an essay just kind of appears from thin air – a thing of magic. And students are discouraged when they stare into that space for too long without any results. Here are the main steps one needs to know about writing an essay:

Be Calm and Brainstorm Topics: The first step in writing an essay is coming up with a topic. Sometimes your instructor provides you with choices, but other times you are asked to develop your own. In the latter cases you should come up with a couple of ideas that interest you, aren’t too broad or too narrow so you can explore the topic in its entirety.

Read Sources and Find Evidence: Read some books, articles and other sources to learn about your topic and further your ideas. In any essay you will be asked to prove a point, so the sources you consult should offer some evidence in support of your argument. Be mindful not to use evidence incorrectly since this will come off as though you haven’t developed reading comprehension.

Develop Your Thesis: Now that you have read some sources, you can develop a complete argument. Your thesis doesn’t have to be final, but it should be pointed enough to guide you in how you structure your argument. Eventually you’ll find that you can revise or rewrite your thesis to fit your final logic and point you are trying to make.

Create an Outline: All great essays stem from great outlines. Professional writers will always stand behind creating an outline before getting started with the first draft. An outline should include all of your major points and supporting evidence. Keep your outline close by so you can refer to it as you write your first draft.

Write a First Draft Then Revise: First drafts should be composed quickly and efficiently. Don’t stop to make minor corrections to grammar or spelling. And certainly don’t stop if your sentences sound repetitive. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to make corrections when you revise. As soon as you are done with your first, make all appropriate revisions by rethinking the flow and logic of your paper.

Proofread and Edit: The final step to writing a great essay is proofreading and editing. This should happen at many sub-levels – first by reading your entire paper and making corrections, then by reading at the paragraph level and finally by reading at the sentence level. Your paper will be the better because of this final step, and you’ll be rewarded with better grades.

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