Whether you’re writing a 500 word paper or a 30 page paper, writing an essay can be challenging. Figuring out how to get your point across, the proper diction, paragraph organization, and more before a deadline can feel like a daunting task. Even if you’re a great writer, the writing process isn’t always going to be easy. Fortunately, I have a 5 step writing process that makes essay writing a bit easier, and that helps you write better papers:
Step 1: Determine your purpose for writing the paper.
This first step is probably the most important step you can take when writing a paper. Defining the subject of the paper will help guide you in what to write. It is much easier to research something and write about it when you know exactly what it is you’re trying to write. Look over the assignment carefully to gain a better understanding of what your professor wants from the paper. Ask yourself the following question: What do you want the reader to know after reading this paper? Remember: When you write with a purpose in mind, your paper will have purpose. Make sure you know the goal you’re trying to accomplish well and how you can convey the message to your reader.
Step 2: Write down everything and anything about your topic.
Before you can start to write or even outline, you have to have ideas. Ideas are the starting point of any paper. Think about the overall point you want to get across to your reader that you defined in step one. For example, let’s say you’re writing a paper on why business X is successful. Do research on the business and on what defines success for that business and dump thoughts, links, quotes, statistics, and anything you can find on the subject into a document. This doesn’t need to have any structure or clear reasoning behind it just yet. This is simply a chance for you to brainstorm and collect information. This will also help give you a better understanding of the topic of your paper and will be extremely useful when the time comes to start writing.
Step 3: Organize your thoughts.
Step three is when you sift through the research from step two and find the most valuable pieces of information that you’ll want to include in your paper. This is the step where you can create an outline. Keep in mind that outlines don’t have to be extremely detailed and lengthy; just think of the main points you want to write about and underneath those points, include supporting information. While you may be eager to begin the writing process and want to skip doing an outline, I wouldn’t recommend it. Outlines are a great way to organize your paper in a logical way. Start with your introduction which should include your thesis (what you want the reader to know after reading your paper), then body paragraphs where you share information that supports your thesis, and a conclusion that ties the paper together and summarizes what you’ve written. It sounds simple enough, and you’ve most likely been writing papers with this structure for most of your life, but it can be easy to neglect the basics and let your paper go off the tracks. Create an outline to organize your paper and see how each element of the paper will work together to accomplish your vision.
Step 4: Start writing, then take a step back.
Step four is when the writing begins. It might sound a little late in the process to start writing the paper itself, but after you’ve done the first three steps, this part of the process will be made significantly easier. Use your outline as a guide for writing. It is also very important to make sure that you read all of your professors guidelines for the paper so you know you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, as I mentioned in step one. If there is a rubric, make sure to look it over so that you know what you’re being graded on.
Remember that you can always go back to previous steps in this process and do more research or add things to your outline if you realize adjustments need to be made as you write. In fact, I strongly encourage you to do this to make sure your paper is exactly how you want it to be and satisfies the requirements. Refer back to your professors instructions regularly to make sure you’re on the right track. After you’ve written your paper, I recommend you step away from it for a while and do something else. This is so that when you come back to it, you can find mistakes that you may have overlooked before. It also gives you a mental break and prevents you from becoming overwhelmed.
Step 5: Grade your own paper.
This last step requires you to put yourself in your professors shoes. Once your paper is finished, read it over as if you weren’t the one who wrote it. When you’re done reading, write down what you believe the purpose of the paper was. If this matches the purpose you wrote down for yourself in step one, that’s great! That means you effectively conveyed what you wanted to to the reader. However, it’s always good to get a second opinion, so I would recommend having a peer, someone from the Writing Center, or even your professor look it over and give you their thoughts. You should also give yourself a grade and some feedback after reading it. It might feel a little strange to grade your own paper, but it’s very useful. If you feel like your paper was worthy of a B, think about what you could change to make it an A-worthy paper. What do you feel like was missing? What did you like about the paper? Was there anything you disliked about it? Being totally honest with yourself during this step will improve the quality of your paper.
Try using this 5 step process for your next writing assignment!
Subscribe to our blog to receive email notifications whenever we make a new post!
Follow us on social media:
Twitter: @villehousing. Twitter QR Code:
Instagram: @villehousing. Instagram Nametag: