This semester, I as a rhetoric and philosophy double major have to write 23 essays. As of now, I’ve done 13 with 10 to go. At this point I feel like it’s a key aspect of my personality, “Hi my name is Bridget and I’m writing 23 essays this semester” which seems more daunting than it really is.
I have an essay that gets assigned on Wednesdays due every Sunday, which I appreciate being a constant in my life. So that’s a minimum of one essay a week which honestly is doable. However, where the challenge comes is my other classes where I’m assigned longer essays less frequently. Last week I had to write 5 essays, but this week I only have to write two. The fluctuation is really the hardest part, but I now consider myself an expert on timing an essay and going about it productively.
First, you need to understand your timeline – writing a paper the day its due is not the nest idea. I have to admit it’s doable but you really shouldn’t fall into that habit (especially if you’re a humanities major). What’s best is to mark out when it’s due and then hold yourself to your schedule, which brings us to the next step, understanding how you write. Everyone has a different writing style. For me, I can write up to 5 pages in one sitting. For my roommate, she needs a few days to write it. Don’t force yourself to write if you absolutely can’t, that’s what produces a bad essay. What usually happens for me, is I sit down a few days before and I start writing until I’m done. But that doesn’t work for everyone. Most people prefer to write a little bit every day, which also works really well if you can hold yourself accountable.
As a college student, you should expect to write a few essays there’s really no way around it, but that’s ok! Here’s 4 easy steps as to how to write an essay:
- Read the prompts as soon as you get them. The reason I say this is because if you haven’t done the reading or maybe need to do a bunch of research, you should get a head start on that so you don’t suffer later on. This will also help you keep an eye out for helpful information in class or just in general. Reading a text with a prompt in mind is the best way to learn useful information, rather than going back and wadi8ng through a text you’ve already read.
- Set your own deadlines. This changes based on your writing style and preference, but planning to have it done ahead of time will never steer you wrong. I usually aim to write my essay at least 2 days before so I can go back and edit if I need to. That being said, I like to do my writing all in one sitting, if you need more than one day plan on doing that. This organization and allocation of your time will keep you on track to write a good essay.
- Don’t write your introduction first. Start off with the meat of your paper and then after you’ve established your position and arguments write an intro and a conclusion that fits what you’ve already said rather than trying to uphold your thesis statement that could very well change when going through the motions.
- Finally, have someone else read your essay once you’re done. Give them the prompt and your essay and ask if your writing is cohesive and easy to follow. It doesn’t even matter if they have no idea what you’re writing about, they can catch anything from grammatical errors to sentences that just don’t make any sense. Then you’re ready to turn it in.
Writing essays are hard, I wouldn’t blame you if you hate it. That being said, I truly believe nothing is more important than being able to write well. It applies to every field of study, it is useful in every day life, writing will always be something you need to do period.
I hope this helps someone, learning how to write a good essay is hard (heck, I’m still learning) but I think everyone is capable of it. The 4 steps I came up with are just the most basic of what you can do, I think they’ll set you up well enough, practice makes perfect and all of that. Good luck with the next essay you have to write, I’m off to write one of my own.