How to Write an Essay in 7 Steps

Writing essays provides the best opportunity to shine. Crafting complex issues within the boundaries of prose restrictions and limiting word counts, opens the doors for writers to gain freedom and craft their intellect within the serenity of thoughtful argument.

Often the main problem when regularly writing essays, it is easy for one to get stuck in a rut. If you are looking to take your essay writing to the next level, here are some tips and techniques that will assist you with writing consistently impressive essays.

Read Essays from Others

To develop and build your own essay writing style, read other people’s essays. Offer your essays to others to read and they may in return extend the favor to you. This process subconsciously helps you to mold your style.

Extend your reach to a wide variety of subjects, not just those that are of your interest. Differing disciplines presents differing arguments and styles. When reading other’s essays, go beyond face value such as asking yourself the following: what did you like?, what did you dislike?, how persuasive was the point?, was the argument in balance and within reason?, what was the supporting evidence?, were there any new techniques discoveries?, and what would you do differently?  

Essays require balance. Reading the opinions of others, noting how they present their supporting arguments with evidence and also noting where they leave things out to help persuade readers to a certain opinion, helps you, in turn, to learn, develop and form a writing style that is balanced.

Develop Your Vocabulary

No likes their time wasted with long-winded ramblings in which the point could have been made in half the number of words. Developing your vocabulary will help you to clearly say exactly what you mean as concisely as possible.

Vocabulary is something every writer should be working on continually as there are always new ways to convey a point more effectively. In addition, an advanced vocabulary will help you to be more persuasive with your words when writing essays.

Here are Several Techniques for Vocabulary Building:

  • Subscribe to an online dictionary newsletter to receive new words to learn daily, weekly or as your schedule permits. To locate them easily later, create a folder in your email account to store those emails.
  • Expand your reading. Read a variety of genres such as nonfiction and fiction on a variety of topics and refer to the dictionary as you come across words you don’t know. This will help you learn new words while seeing it in context and widen your general knowledge on the topic as well as your vocabulary.
  • To avoid using the same words over and over again in your writing, use a thesaurus. A thesaurus will add variety to your language as you discover and use other words that have the same contextual meaning.
  • As boring as it may sound, learning prefixes, suffixes and roots will help you increase your vocabulary. Prefixes are added to the beginning of a word to change the meaning, such as “semi” and suffixes are added to the end of a word, such as “able”. With such knowledge, you will be able to conclude the meaning of new words when you know its root and the context of use.
  • Create your own vocabulary notebook. As you learn new words, write them down in your notebook along with their meanings. Taking the step of writing down the word and its definition will increase your chances of remembering better for use in your writing later.

Putting the words you use into action right away, will help you with your goal of improving your vocabulary. You can also consider challenging yourself to learn a set number of new words per day, per week, per month or per year.

Remember the main purpose of improving your vocabulary is to reduce rambling and increase effectiveness. Therefore, avoid using long and obscure words just because you can. Using complicated words when simpler ones will suffice risk detouring the reader and the intended effect. Furthermore, avoid adding unnecessary words just because you can as your goal is to be clear and easy to understand. Remove any words, phrases, or sentences that don’t add value to the context of your writing.

Developing an Argument with Words

Effectively using language to build an argument helps you to create a sense of structure when writing. Focus on not repeating yourself such as overusing certain words such as “also”, “because”, and “so on”. Incorporate a variety of words such as “furthermore”, “moreover” and “however”. Through this usage, your words can effectively guide your reader to a clear understanding and conclusion.

Summarize Your Essays

Before writing your essay, know what argument you are going to make or in other words, plan ahead. To effectively structure your essay, you must know the overall conclusion so you can build up the argument to meet the conclusion. Take time to write out a short, condensed summary of what you want to say in the essay and why readers ought to take an interest. Your condensed summary is your introduction should sell your idea, leaving the reader wanting to know more.

Quote Others Opinions

Mentioning other’s opinions, in context of what you are writing about further demonstrates how widely read you are. For example, author Rachel Scheller, suggests incorporating “artful ways” when writing essays in article “How to Write a Reader-Friendly Essay.” Writer’s Digest 4 Dec 2012.

Readers take interest in contrasting views and everyone has an opinion so it’s important to consider as many perspectives as you can. Be careful to not over quote and avoid mixing citations with your own opinions. Keep your views separate and show you have given thought and have come up with your own conclusion; this shows demonstration of strong critical reasoning, one of the many hallmarks of brilliant writers.  

Syntax and Grammar

Employing a wide range of sentence structure, both short and long, gives interesting syntax. Making your writing easy to understand while adding intelligent sophistication is no easy task, yet achievable. Readers shouldn’t have to read a sentence several times to understand its meaning. Conveying your argument clearly and persuasively requires effective punctuation; the last thing you want is for poor grammar to confuse and derail your reader.

Tone of Voice

Essays may be formal, they may be academic, but they do not have to be boring. Establishing the right tone of voice is vital to the life of the writing. The tone should be interesting and engaging. A strong and confident writing voice demonstrates to the reader, “you know what you are talking about” and reassures the reader that there is reason to keep reading.

To give your writing a compelling sense of immediacy, write in an active voice rather than a passive voice. Many brilliant writers use this trick of the trade to add significant difference to their writing tone.