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Guidelines on Essay Writing
Writing an essay can be an easy or challenging task but how well onewrites an article depends on how well one organizes ideas. An essayrepresents writings from the author’s point of view. Depending on awriter’s choice of topic and organization of ideas the contentprovided in the essay may or may not convince the reader (Rao et al.100). Essay writing is a systematic task that involves the followingsteps: choice of topic, organization of ideas, writing of the firstdraft, revision of the first draft and proofreading to create a finaldraft. A well-written essay conveys information in a logical way andpresents well-organized ideas and arguments that convince the reader.
The starting point of a well-written essay is the proper choice ofthe essay topic. This is selected depending on the fundamental wordsin the question. For instance, one may be asked to discuss,substantiate, summarize, differentiate, describe. These keywordsguide the direction the essay would take (Rao et al. 100). The topicselected should be narrow to allow the writer to expound more on thesubject. In addition, the topic chosen should be interesting to thewriter, and this will motivate the writer to give his or her bestshot. The choice of topic is made easier through brainstorming as itallows one to write more and discard irrelevant information. When thebest topic is chosen the ideas start flowing that would make up theessay.
An outline is a list of organized ideas in order of importance. Theseideas are often related to the chosen topic. It represents the flowof ideas in the essay and may be done in chronological or numericalorder. This creates a plan showing the build-up and flow of ideas.The ideas should be related, but repetition of ideas should beavoided. Ideas should be arranged in order of significance and shouldallow transition from the beginning of the essay to the end. Whenthis is done, the writer may then continue to write the initialoutline of the essay (Rao et al. 101). Designing the initial draft ofthe article involves dividing the essay into three parts:Introduction, body, and Conclusion. The introductory paragraph shouldbe informative as it sheds light on the essay content. It consists ofa thesis statement that presents the author’s point of view. Inaddition, it should arouse the curiosity of the reader. The lastsentence provides a transition into the body of the essay. The bodyintroduces the ideas and arguments supporting the thesis statement.It is comprised of paragraphs that explain the main ideas (Rao et al.101). The first paragraph in the body explains the strongest argumentand the strength of the argument reduce in the next paragraphs of theessay. Proofs supporting the ideas need to be provided throughexamples and illustrations. Transition from one paragraph to anotheris achieved by using transition words and phrases. The concludingparagraph in an essay finalizes the ideas presented. This is done bysummarizing the main points excluding examples and illustrations. Italso establishes a relationship among the main ideas in the essay.
With the completion of the first draft, the author can read throughand revise in specific areas. Reading of this draft enablesrethinking of ideas in case one deviated from the topic. Theparagraphs can be reorganized to create a logical flow of ideas (Raoet al. 102). The choice of words may change to capture the keywordsin the topic. More so, one may tailor the essay to meet thespecifications. A friend may assist by reading the essay loud so thatone knows areas needing revision. Once corrections are made to theessay, it can be read a second time.
To give a final touch to the essay, proofreading is done. This isdone to correct errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation andcapitalization. These errors can be corrected online using spellcheckers and software that detect and correct grammatical errors (Raoet al. 102). Proofreading may be done easily by making a printout ofthe work this makes it easier to spot the errors than when it isdone via a computer. By completing all these steps when writing youressay, success is guaranteed.
Many composition instructors agree that writing needs to be taught asa recurrent process, rather than a linear process, and they agreethat most writers employ various writing strategies as they producedrafts. Sandra Perl’s article ‘Understanding composing’explains these beliefs and states that writing does appear to berecursive, yet the parts that recur vary from one writer to anotherand topic to topic as well. Throughout the writing process, thewriters are always moving forward in action as opposed to movingbackward in action (Rao et al. 103). Moreover, when writers plan,draft and revise their writings they use a process known asretrospective structuring and it involves attending to a writer’sfelt sense, revisiting the topic presented, rereading what has beenwritten and carrying a reassessment of the written works.
One fundamental point for a writer is paying attention to his or herfelt tense. A writer’s felt tense involves the bodily experience onon-verbal thought that surrounds the works or the emotions that thesubject initiates in the writer. Nonetheless, when writers utilisethe process of felt sense, they pause and react to what is inside ofthe, and they seem to pay careful attention to the inner reflectionsand this is mostly accompanied by bodily reflections (Rao et al.103). Skilled writers utilize their felt sense knowingly whileunskilled writers might be taught how to use their felt sense. Whenwriters are presented with a topic, the author takes the subject andattends to their felt sense as they wait to see what forms beforethey embark on writing. The topic a writer is given evokes thewriters felt sense on the topic, this calls forth images, words,ideas, and vague feelings that are within the writer`s body. What iselicited then is not purely a product of the mind but of a living andsensing the body. If anything remains vague and unclear, the writerwould then return to the topic and would reread the keywords andallow the topic to sink deeper until they feel it forms an image,word or phrase that captures some sense that they can embody. Up tonow, the writer has no the words they want to write but something‘clicked’ and they are now ready to begin writing on the topic.
Once writers embark on the writing process, the most reoccurringfeature is when the writer reverts to reread what they had alreadywritten. For some writers, rereading takes place after a few phrasesof after each sentence, but most rereading occurs after a little bitof information has been jotted down. By rereading what has beenwritten, the writer may discover that some of the words written donot encompass the message they intend to pass on (Rao et al. 103). Inthis case, the writer carries out a reassessment of the words writtenin order to alter them and capture the intended meaning. If anythingis missing in the writing, the writer needs to pause, consult theirfelt sense to determine what is missing, and then write out from thatsense. In the light of this, writers are ever revising their draftsand further structuring their sense in a manner that corresponds toshaping and improving their piece of writing.
The writer also returns to the topic and recalls a keyword or item.Rereading of the same topic or keywords is a way of reviving the samefelt sense that the topic evoked initially. Many a times, rereadinghelps a writer determine what is missing in the essay, discoveringwhat went wrong on the topic, and the direction we need the writingto take (Rao et al. 103). Nevertheless, writers might change whatthey had already written to ensure that it addresses the topic.
Another important feature is projective restructuring and this iswhereby the writer determines whether the writings on that page wouldaffect any other person apart from the reader, in that if the writingis intelligent enough to captivate other readers (Rao et al. 103). I,therefore, call on students to call up their felt sense in writing.
Rao, V., Kate, C. and Lakshmi, K.. A Visual Guide to EssayWriting: How to Develop and Communicate Academic Argument.Broadway, N.S.W: Association for Academic Language and Learning,2007. Print.