Essay writing is a necessary part of academia, but the sight of a blank page can be intimidating. While it is great to have a chance to express your unique thoughts, ideas, and arguments, one of the hardest aspects of essay writing can be knowing how to get started—how to form a structure and ensure that your thoughts and ideas are clearly expressed. We have some top tips to help you make sure your next essay is top of the class and save you hours of procrastination, frustration, and Googling “how to write my paper” at 2 am.
Make A Plan
It may seem time-consuming, but the best way to achieve top quality work is to plan it. This will give you a chance to think through your ideas, consider your sources, and decide what you want to say. It is a good idea to very briefly plan an introduction, but your main focus should be on the points you want to make within the paper. Try to make sure these are logical and form a coherent argument, each building on the last to make your point and present your case. These notes will also help when you come to write the conclusion.You will be able to see your structure at a glance and can summarise appropriately.
Track Your Sources
If you are writing an academic paper which requires sources, make sure that you track these as you go. Make a note of the title, author, date, page number, and any other information essential for referencing. If you have time, it can be a good idea to simply reference these and compile your bibliography as you are working. This can save you hours of frustration when you think you are finished!
Keep Some Distance
Proofreading your work is essential to ensure good quality, but you can sometimes run the risk of being too close. Try to be objective when you read your argument back, and put yourself in the seat of your lecturer or teacher. Does the argument make sense? Have you been clear about what you are trying to say? Read tricky sentences out loud to get an idea of how they flow—this will help you to pick up any inconsistencies which sound wrong.
One of the most important things you can do to ensure high-quality work is to give yourself enough time. Rushing at the last minute will not only stress you out, but it will be very unlikely that you produce your best work. When you receive an assignment, make a note of the due date, and plan a schedule to allow you to complete the work. Remember to include time for research, proofreading, and revisions of an initial draft. Taking control will help boost your confidence, resulting in a higher quality piece.
Procrastination is one of the most significant barriers to success, so the best thing to do is just get started. It is better to have a draft to edit and revise than a blank document, so take the plunge and start typing—you will instantly feel better!