5 Helpful Tips For Writing Essays
Start writing a post

5 Helpful Tips For Writing Essays

If you are stuck on a composition and need some guidance to gain momentum, consider these essay writing strategies.

5 Helpful Tips For Writing Essays
Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

As many students have been learning online, through zoom or other digital platforms, it can be difficult to sit down and spend another couple of hours staring at a screen to write an essay. In order to get a composition finished in the most efficient way, it is important to have a plan that will help guide you through your individualized writing process one step at a time. If you are having difficulty starting, writing or finishing an essay for a course, consider these tips to take some stress off your shoulders while you work through your educational duties.

1. Consider the prompt and brainstorm. 

The first thing you should do when assigned an essay in any course, is to analyze the prompt. The essay prompt or assignment sheet has the potential to serve as the biggest influencer for brainstorming topics. You can highlight or jot down important requirements listed in your prompt, and if they are not asked as questions, you can transform the statements into an inquiry and contemplate any possible answers you come up with. If a given prompt is not very specific, you should narrow down your interests related to the broad assignment, so that your topic feels comfortable enough to motivate you while you write. During the brainstorming process, it is helpful to list out all of your ideas, either digitally or on paper, so that you can visually combine, delete or add to topics that look promising in relation to the key words or requirements that you narrowed down from the prompt.

2. Think about your audience. 

As every educator has different goals and requirements when assigning an essay, the audience you are writing for can differ and ultimately change the formality, diction and informatics that should be incorporated in an essay. If your essay is a research paper, your audience will usually consist of a broad demographic, as the goal is to persuade or argue an original point, observation or idea. If you are writing a composition that will be shared with your class, it is vital to consider the style of speech and subject matter that will be of interest to student peers like yourself. Considering the audience is not always detrimental in essay writing, but it can be helpful to understand who you are writing to in order to focus on a topic, delivery method and wording style that best suits the prompt.

3. Map out your essay. 

Although every writer has a different pre-writing and composing process, if you are stuck with the formatting of a composition, the best way to get the wheels turning is by physically mapping out each paragraph before you write. By planning the content that you will discuss in each paragraph, you are giving yourself an idea of the sources, information and connective ideas needed to make your essay flow and meet any word count or reference requirements. If you write your essays digitally, you can map out your essay on the same document you are writing it on in order to have a visual skeleton of what you have left to write and how you will merge each idea in between paragraphs. Having a visual plan of your essay may take time but will prove to make your writing experience less daunting.

4. Finding and reading your sources before you start writing. 

If you are writing an essay that requires academic or non-academic sources, do not wait until the middle of a paragraph to find them. You should accumulate all of your references and citations before you begin writing your essay in order to know exactly how you will use each source within your essay. It is crucial to read and annotate your sources before using them in an essay, as it will give you, not only more knowledge on the topic, but will help you compose using your own reactions to each work, allowing the bulk of your essay to depict your original ideas alongside that of other authors or scholars. Understanding a source before you use it in a composition will help you to discern whether or not you want to use it to help prove your thesis or use it as a counterargument that you will disprove. Once you have found and analyzed all of your sources, you can include them in your essay plan to make your writing process progress more seamlessly, saving you time and stress in the long run.

5. Start with your thesis. 

Although it is easy for many to begin writing an introduction off the bat when composing an essay, if you begin with a thesis statement, your work will be focused around that argument or topic more consistently without filler thoughts or sentences. By creating a strong thesis statement, you are creating a sort of gravitational pull towards a central idea, allowing each paragraph and statement to have a common connection that will link back to the main purpose of your essay. Thesis statements come in various forms, lengths and styles, so you should not stress about creating one that simply lists out three ideas or arguments that will be discussed in the paper, rather you should try to build a sentence(s) that encompasses a big picture statement that you can constantly refer back to as your paper progresses.

It is important to note that everyone has their own writing process, so these tips should not be absorbed as a mere checklist but rather a helpful guide for challenges that arise while you are composing an essay. If you are experiencing a lot of anxiety and feel that you require some assistance with any writing assignment, you can always make an appointment at your university's writing center, which serves as an open, safe and collaborative environment where you will receive the guidance and advocation you need.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments