Developing Essay Writing Skills

Developing Essay Writing Skills

No one is born with perfect essay writing skills. It may take months to come up with the topic, while writing is a never-ending process of becoming a better version of yourself. An academic essay is somehow different from a typical magazine article, it relies less on your unique sense of style and writer’s voice, but on specific formatting, tone, and vocabulary.

Here are some tips and advice on how to write an essay and present your ideas in the best way possible.

Be prepared for writing

Be sure that you understand the guidelines of the assignment before you start writing. Often, you have a set deadline for completing the essay, so don’t waste time wondering whether everything is clear. Consult with additional literature and contact your instructor, making it as easy as possible for yourself in time. The rush and pressing deadlines are your worst enemies.

At the same time, pay attention to formatting, up to 10% of the final grade depends on your ability to compose the paper and cite your sources.

Know the ingredients of the essay

Regardless of the formatting and essay form, all papers have the same basic structure: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion (with two additional pages for the title and sources citation):

  1. Introduction, where you present the problem or topic with the strong thesis statement as the last sentence of the introductory paragraph. The thesis statement is a must-have of the introduction, depending on the essay style.
  2. Body, where each paragraph is limited to one general idea. In this part, you investigate and give your research or analysis of the problem. Note that each body paragraph should have a clear transition; otherwise, it will make no sense at all.
  3. The conclusion, which restates the thesis from the perspective of the provided evidence.

Make an outline and review it

Let’s assume you already know the essay topic, what point you are going to explore and prove, what’s next? The fear of blank paper is very real, it pushes you into doubts, and you procrastinate thinking, “if I start later, I still know what to do.”

An outline is as essential as the first draft and the paper itself. It allows you to see all the weak and strong points of your argument or research, shape the logical structure of the future essay; has various helpful examples of outlines that are the baseline of the future essay.

As you try and re-write the outline, you become more conscious of your train of thought. Moreover, an outline is not only good for academic writing but also beneficial for any project of yours.

Each draft version counts

Few can brag about the A-grade essay from the first attempt they have made. Don’t be so hard on yourself for making mistakes, being messy, or making less sense than you would expect from the first shot. Usually, it takes several drafts and many edits to make it flawless.

Each time you make a new revision, you learn from your previous experience and improve your writing skills.

Grammar and vocabulary are essential for academic writing

Grammar is crucial for everything you write. A strong essay has an active voice, avoids repetitions, utilizes the appropriate vocabulary, and lacks any typos or spelling mistakes.

How can you improve your grammar other than just writing?

Of course, the more you write, the easier it gets for you to remember all grammatical rules and nuances. Simultaneously, many specialists advise reading and developing visual memory, while others also suggest listening to various podcasts or programs to train your echoic memory and boost vocabulary and sense of language.

The best-case scenario is when your wants and needs are met. Try to analyze your favourite show, how it applies the language, and how it conveys main ideas. Vocabulary and grammar are more than just knowing how to write, but understanding why these rules exist, even when it seems they make no sense at all. Our advice: try to make it fun and enlightening at the same time, your future self would be grateful for such an approach.

Reading and listening also give you the possibility to learn new words and expressions. If you are not a big fan of making lists, try to remember the context in which the word was employed.

Write, review, repeat

As hard and boring as it may be, to go over and over the same paper you have written, it is important to be both a writer and an editor. After you have created a draft, make a small break, go for a walk, or switch your attention to something you like. The best edits are made when you have a fresh eye.

On the other hand, if you have someone who can help you, ask them to review your paper. Take into account every suggestion and avoid the fear of criticism. The passion for writing and practice will help you become a real professional in this sphere.