If you’re like me, you have encountered the massive 7-page essays that you have worked on for days before the due date, only to find you still have a lot of it left to finish. Most likely this is because you have spent time writing stuff that you don’t actually need in your essay. Regardless, here’s a real nifty way to jump-start your essay:
1. Go to the Writing Center.
This is the place where friendly people are willing to help you out on any stage of the writing process. Definitely consult a Tutor when you are stuck–or you will only waste time trying to figure stuff out on your own.
2. Collect all your data/information/ideas.
You need to know what you are writing about first!
3. Write out your thesis.
Given your ideas, make a clear argument. At first, this doesn’t have to be the most beautifully written, but it cannot be vague–or else your paper will become vague.
4. Write out exactly how you will write your essay
Then, organize your ideas into an outline that you can easily understand. You should be able to “picture” the essay before you write it. Make sure you know what your argument is before you start writing! Otherwise, you will start writing and spend time creating beautiful paragraphs that don’t relate to your thesis.
5. Sit down, and Start Writing!
This is the point where you actually start writing. Find a quiet spot (or loud spot, whichever helps you concentrate) and turn that outline into a continuous flow of words and paragraphs. At this stage, don’t care about how well you write the ideas–what matters most is that you put the outline into words.
6. Stand up, stretch, and rest.
It is important you relax, and refresh your mind before you begin working on that essay again.
7. Sit down, and revise it.
Now you begin to edit and revise your slapped-together train-of-thought/outline-put-into-words. Make sure you have elegant word choice and vary your sentence structure. It is strongly encouraged that you have someone else read your paper–preferably a Writing Center tutor–to make sure your ideas are actually understandable.
If at any point of the process you have difficulty, simply make a quick pit stop at the Writing Center–they will help you, and you will learn from the experience.