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How to Write a Successful Essay

Introduction

Writing an essay can be a challenging task to perform; that is why many students must be helped to know how to write well. It can be very difficult to write successful essays if one does not know the steps involved in writing. My first experience in writing was in English 104 when I wrote a diagnostic essay. I managed to get only three points because it was just a long paragraph of two pages. At that time, I did not know exactly how to write an essay in paragraphs. However, in this class of English 104, I still learnt the keys to effective writing as a way to communicate with others. I discovered that, in order to write a successful essay at college level, one must follow these three steps: prewriting, writing, and editing.

Prewriting

Prewriting is the first step in writing a successful essay at college level. It involves putting your ideas on paper by brainstorming. From that, one can discover gradually which of the written ideas to be developed. Prewriting may involve any of the four common four common techniques which include: free-writing, questioning, making a list, and clustering. Free-writing is the easiest of all. Here, one just writes down on paper what comes to mind about the topic.

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For instance, when my instructor gave a topic for prewriting by use of free-writing, I tried to jot down rough sentences, phrases, or words that came to mind at that time. I kept repeating myself until more words came along. This means that, by repeatedly practicing free-writing, you develop the habit of thinking. When you write down an idea, it might lead to other ideas on the same topic. This method can be a helpful way to begin any paper.

From free writing, you can ask the Wh-questions about the subject. These are questions like why, When, Where, Who, and how. This method is called a questioning technique. One should think and ask many questions that relate to the main topic from different angles. All the answers are meant to help the writer to generate details about the topic.

After generating all the questions exhaustively, one should make a list. With this technique, the writer collects all ideas and details that relate to the topic. In my case, I usually make a list before writing an essay. This is the time when I write down all possible information about the subject. Then, I categorize this information into different groups of ideas. These groups make it easier for me to make an outline for my essay just before I can cluster the points. Clustering generates details for the essay. With this technique, the writer uses lines, boxes, arrows, and circles to draw the relationship between the ideas and details. It makes the writer to visualize the essay.

Writing

In the second step in writing a successful essay, one begins the real writing. Having all the details from the prewriting step, one must be ready to draft the essay. A traditional essay usually consists of five paragraphs which are; the introduction, three supporting paragraphs, and the conclusion. The writer is advised to choose the points that really support the subject and then arrange these items into suitable body paragraphs. It is important to make an outline because it serves as a framework to build the whole essay logically and efficiently. It is from this outline that the writer will begin to write the first sketch of the essay.

Apart from using all information from the prewriting step, one can put in additional thoughts and events to convince the readers to share one’s opinion. You can include examples to lighten up your essay and make it more attractive. For example, my instructor in English 104 always required the students to use at least one example in each paragraph to support the main idea. In response, I used to write two or three sentences to support the topic sentences, and then I come up with examples to make the main idea clear. A topic sentence is the main idea of a paragraph in an essay. It is advised that each paragraph should have an independent idea whose carrier is the topic sentence.

In writing, one should try to develop the content of paper with many specific details and not worry about the grammar, punctuation, or spelling. After the first draft is done, the writer ought to revise the content. Writing an essay differs from doing math. It is not easy to quickly check the answer in a math solution but one must reread a paper many times to revise the essay. Every time one revises it, there is a possibility that more ideas and thoughts will come to mind. Revision helps writers to know what is needed to create an effective essay.

Editing

Editing is the final step in writing a quality essay. Editing involves checking for mistakes, cutting out irrelevant details as well as checking for offensive language or even making further additions for clarity. After revising the content of the essay, the writer begins to edit the whole paper. Here, one would be completing a successful essay by looking over the work. The Writer checks and corrects all mistakes in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Asking for another person to check for the mistakes is very useful. For instance, my sister often asks me to edit her written work after which we discuss all the discovered errors in the sentences. This helps to learn and memorize the grammar quickly. Moreover, editing helps to determine how the ideas in the paragraphs are unified, supported, and coherent for unity to be achieved. Unity makes the essay more effective; therefore, all the details in the essay must be related to the main points in the essay. By coherence, we mean that all supporting ideas and sentences in the paper must be organized and related. The writer can use transitions and other connectors to gain coherence.

Conclusion

In summary, writing successful essay writing is a process that includes three main steps: prewriting, writing and editing. Learning these steps is a requirement for writing an effective essay. Prewriting gives the writer all details that are possibly related to the subject. Writing creates an essay with many supporting ideas. Editing comes last. It is a step where the writer makes the sentences clearer and error-free. Learning and practicing those steps will help one become a stronger writer. This is essential because the writer’s mind becomes trained to think and express ideas clearly. This ability is a door-opening opportunity in one’s life.

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