To help make writing an essay less intimidating, teachers often advise their students to pick a topic they enjoy. Taking notes before and during research can make it a bit easier as well. Also, before any actual writing is done, students are often advised to organize their ideas, usually with an outline. Finally, after a first draft is written, a student should read his work carefully and edit it, if necessary.
If the topic of an essay was not assigned, a student must choose a topic before writing an essay. In this case, he should choose a topic that interests him, or about which he is passionate. This will often make the writing process a little more enjoyable.
Authors should also narrow down broad topics, or pick an angle, before writing an essay. For example, bumblebees is a broad topic. An author can narrow this down further by choosing a particular aspect of bumblebees, like their anatomy, usefulness, or life cycle.
Before researching or writing an essay, a student can make a very rough outline. This outline does not need to contain any facts, but it should represent the rough format and flow of the essay. For example, an essay about the life cycle of a bumblebee could start with the queen laying eggs, move onto the larva and pupa stages, and finally segue into the adult stage.
Unless it is a personal essay, a student will typically need to do research. To ensure that facts are correct, teachers often advise students to use more than one resource. Books and the Internet are both excellent sources. Interviewing experts on a topic, however, is another, often forgotten, resource when writing an essay.
While researching, it is often a good idea for a student to take notes. These notes do not have to be anything fancy, but they should contain facts. They can be organized later.
Creating an outline can make writing an essay much easier. In this outline a student could write one main idea as a heading, and add a bulleted list of supporting points beneath this. He could then write another main idea and another bulleted list under that, and so on. Typically, it will be better organized if each main idea represents a paragraph.
Generally, most students have their outlines right next to them when writing an essay. The first paragraph in an essay is generally considered to be the introduction, which should introduce the topic, get the attention of the readers, and make them want to read more. After that, there should be a few paragraphs, with each of them focusing on one main idea. The closing paragraph is sometimes referred to as a conclusion, and it could summarize what the essay was about and possibly leave the reader with an interesting thought.
After the first draft of an essay has been written, it can then be proofread and edited. Many times, teachers will suggest that the essay should be put away for a day or two before editing to help the author revise the essay with fresh eyes. Having another person critique the first draft may also be helpful.
Finally, anyone writing an essay should not wait until the last minute to get it done. This can impact the quality of the final outcome. Some essay writers find that it is much easier to get an essay done if they break the task into small sections. For example, they will research the topic one day, and write an outline the next day.