Essay Writing

How to Write an Essay: Tidbits to Essay Writing


Writing can be simple and at the same time difficult. It is simple for those who follow the rubrics of golden writing and difficult for those that lack the discipline to follow them. A writer must go through stringent steps to write an essay that is top-notch for grading. Additionally, writing requires more of passion, skill, disciple, time planning, and creativity to do well in it as opposed to writing skills alone. Essay writing is one particular aspect of this and is characterized by unique aspects such that it comes with a framework and guidelines with which a writer is required to follow.

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Definition of an Essay

An essay is defined as a short piece of writing which pictures the writer’s perspective or own views. In other words, essays are short pieces of writing representing a one-sided argument of the writer’s experiences, perception, or stories. They are more common at colleges where students are required to complete writing tasks as part of their assignments. Essays are classified into various types. They are dependent on what the writer wants to convey or is being tested by the essay question or topic. Below are four categories of essays;

  1. Persuasive Essays

This kind of essay is written by the author with the intention of convincing the reader or audience in view of the writer’s opinion or point of view. The author uses persuasive arguments that shed more light in support of the writer’s point of view.

  1. Narrative essay

In this category of essay, the writer is keen on narrating the story, an event, or an incident by way of an essay. The writer employs the use of first-person voice in telling their story in the essay.

  1. Descriptive Essays

In these kinds of essays, the writer may describe an event, object, place, person or even a memory. The writer must use words that paints an image of the event on the mind of the reader or audience so as to make the experience more captivating to read.

  1. Expository Essays

Expository essays are written to present a web of knowledge about the essay topic or question. The writer presents a balanced discussion and findings in light of the subject of discussion while providing extensive and real knowledge to their reader. It is distinguished from other essays mentioned above since it does not feature the writer’s own point of view, opinions, or reflect on their sentiments.

Before you begin any kind of writing, there are certain must-do things. As a bare minimum, it is a requirement that strict adherence, almost robotic that certain rules, use of stylistic conventions and strategies must be followed. An essay must flow congruently. The rubrics must be mastered, followed, and seen to be implemented in the essay writing process. The following are the ideal steps to be followed when engaged in an essay writing task.


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Steps to writing an essay.

Pre-writing Stage

The first step in the writing process is called the pre-writing stage. It is a process that begins with preparation so that before beginning on the writing structure, one is prepped for it. It includes all inquiries, group discussions, research, and all abstract ideas or interpretations. It extends to the data collection and assessment criterion adopted by researchers in an attempt to empirically respond to a particular phenomenon being tested in an essay question. It involves intensive and attentive backstage preparations in which a writer, just like an architect, develops a plan for this writing task. It becomes difficult for anyone attempting to write without having duly prepared properly in their areas of research. Even though pre-writing is usually the first activity for a writer to engage in, ideas and the logical flow of the entire work are devolved throughout the entire writing process.

Preparation Phase

In the preparation phase of writing, one begins in understanding the assignment task at hand without which one cannot write anything corrigible. In essence, it would look like constructing a house without taking any measurements or placing an emphasis on the foundation and still expecting it to withstand the test of time. Therefore, it goes without saying that good writing must involve preparation in which a writer commits themselves to make good plans. The product is a work of art that is yet to be completed. Therefore, understanding the task beforehand becomes the very first activity of a writer. It is the Holy Grail step in any writing process. This is because all we would like to write is not merely satisfactory essays but exemplary works that stand out among many. It is work that can earn high grades or influence opinions and policymaking in society regarding a particular subject matter.

In preparation, it entails conducting background research about the subject matter topic of the essay. It is coupled with brainstorming in which the writer asks and then answers questions in light of the topic. The writer sits down and figures out what is required of them to complete the task at hand on the given topic. This is the point where note-taking takes place in which the main ideas in light of the subject are listed. The basic and advanced thoughts regarding the subject of the essay are also listed down. The step armors the writer into making an expert who then decides what to say about the subject matter being explored. The collection of ideas are noted down in the preparation phase which includes drawing a research plan with which the writer investigates and examines the issue be tested in the topic. The writer gathers all relevant resources, information, and evidence required to respond to the essay question adequately.

It includes testing the possible approaches that may be taken to answer the question. Sorting out ideas and options takes place at this phase. It involves numbering and listing issues or ideas that are worth the attention of the reader. This involves a process of re-reading through the question to sort out doubts thereby assuming an expert’s stance. The process ensures that the writer can push through their argument using a structured and systematic writing style with the standard threshold of perfectly written essays.

Getting Into It

From this point onwards, a writer needs to follow another systematic structure. The first step involves putting down each idea on systematically written paragraphs in a stage known as draft writing. It involves real-time writing which the writer uses in noting down the ideas while referring to their notes previously taken down. The writing proves then goes on through in line with the writing plan previously prepared. It involves the consolidation of ideas into sentences then into paragraphs. Notably, mistakes such as grammar, use of passive voice, and spelling mistakes should not concern the writer at this stage. As observed earlier on, the ideas’ processing and generation is progressive, hence allows integration of spot-on ideas adding onto the previously prepared writing plan. Ideas and arguments are logically phrased and develop in a way that expounds on the topic or question. What matters in this most instance are the details of the writing plan drawn by the writer during the pre-writing stage.

Essay mapping

Essay mapping is also a pre-writing practice that takes place right after the drafting stage. A writer structures their ideas and arguments in line with their reader’s logic and anticipates what they need to know. It involves putting down the essay’s ideas and arguments in a written narrative giving a preliminary account of the writer’s views.

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How to Structure an Essay

Brevity and simplicity of ideas are a great deal for any essay write-up. Integration of new spot-on ideas that develop in the course of writing requires consideration to ensure and maintain the coherence of ideas in the essay. It is therefore advised that the process of integrating new ideas comes in handy with the original plan or influences a change of the original plan. Regardless of the type of essay, be it be, narrative, argumentative or explanatory essay, a writer must always follow the framework set explained below.


The introductory part consists of an opening statement that gives the reader background information about the topic or question being tested. It is a brief section and straight to the point. Additionally, it seeks to give the direction of the forthcoming sections. It may also cite certain conclusive facts such as statistics, briefly summarizing the existing resources supporting the topic in question. An additional statement contextualizing the topic into the circumstances of the writer’s research and audience precedes a thesis statement that comes right at the end of the introduction section. The thesis statement highlights the purpose of writing, informing the audience why the present research is important. Also, it gives them a hint of what to expect in the forthcoming sections. The focus is mainly on the central ideas, concept, and terms in a bid to decode the essay question or topic to the reader. It is the part that serves the purpose of motivating the reader to read the work since it is more of a promissory note by the writer to address the curious questions being raised by the reader or audience. Therefore, the introductory part of the essay informs the reader of what to expect and gives a hint as to whether or not they are likely to quench their thirst for knowledge in the particular piece of writing.

A thesis statement is a direct statement that presents an argument giving answering to the question of ‘how’ and ‘why’. The argument posed by the thesis statement relates directly to the research question.  The writer’s position in the essay is demonstrated by the introduction, particularly the thesis statement. It gives the reader a hint of what they expect to be discussed varying with the demands of every essay question or topic. Notably, the thesis statement gives a highlight of what ideas, approaches, and arguments that will be sought and explained throughout the essay. It also serves as a roadmap to the reader’s quest for answers to their question in light of the essay topic.


The section comprises several paragraphs with each contributing an independent idea as well as arguments in support of the main idea.  The first sentence is known as the topic sentence and makes up the first paragraph of the essay. The first paragraph should make the best and strongest of all the arguments in the essay. It emphasizes the main idea which directly addresses the thesis statement. Depending on the directives of the essay question or topic, the writer is required to synthesize evidence in a way that facilitates adequate response to the question. Every paragraph focuses on one idea of the essay and compounds on it comprehensively.

Topic sentence.

The first paragraph discusses the thesis statement in detail while encompassing supportive evidence to build on the ideas of the essay. The topic sentence introduces the main idea to be discussed in the paragraph. It is then followed by a supporting sentence which claims and cites evidence in support of the topic sentence. The supporting claim is composed of the author’s own synthesis of materials and resources interacted with during the research on the subject matter. The supporting statement expounds further on the thesis statement and topic sentence. Its components are drawn from a variety of resources from which the writer interacts with in the earlier phases of writing. The supporting details also contain the writer’s own critical analysis, interpretation, and undersetting of the resources that they have interacted with during the pre-writing stage.

Concluding Sentence.

The last section of each paragraph entails a concluding sentence.  It gives the writer a chance to leave a lasting impression on the reader. These statements often appear at the end of every independent paragraph and seek to reinforce the main ideas introduced by the opening sentence in the beginning. It plays a critical role in putting more emphasis on the main idea.

Counterargument and refutations

The existence of a contradicting position is known as a refutation while the existence of the opposition is a counterargument. The writer begins by examining the counterargument and states its opposing elements while showing its incompleteness. The counterargument is refuted using examples and logical arguments cited by the writer in the essay. The writer cites and tenders evidence that portrays counterarguments as incomplete and lacks to accommodate the alternative. The counterarguments and refutation paragraph by the writer states that the essay’s argument is stronger.

Besides, in essay writing, the writer is to pay keen attention to the contradicting voices in their area of study. Consequently, the writer is obliged to respond to the critics or those that opine differently. It creates an academic debate environment in which a writer brings forth an expertise argument in responding to another expert in the profession under discussion. The scenario must be set in such a way that the academic debate around what is being created between the writer and the critic’s ideas or arguments. The section serves to show the reader that the research done around the particular topic being addressed is beneficial. It also retaliates that the writer is aware that other positions exist regarding the issue of discussion in question.


These are connecting words that link sentences to another and serve to show the continuity and unity of ideas throughout the essay. It is not a part in itself but a style that is adopted within the process of writing. Notably, transitions include the use of words that facilitate the logical flow of ideas systematically. The preference on the type of transition words to use in an essay is dependent on the language and writing styles of each writer. However, as earlier emphasized, writing is not only about being passionate but also the ability of a writer to read and learn every day. Therefore, it is a necessary skill for a writer to possess great mastery of transition as they engage in essay writing.


This is the last paragraph in an essay that brings the writer’s discussions to an end. It calls upon the reader to make reflections based on the findings of the discussion sustained throughout the essay. Concluding remarks provide effective closure to an essay while also giving the writer one last opportunity to make a long-lasting impression on the reader’s mind. Moreover, it is the writer’s last chance to persuade their reader based on the findings of their study presented in earlier sections. This section requires that a writer reviews their work in tandem with their thesis statement and decides which of the ideas supported in the essay are worth closing in the discussion. The writer proposes a course of action and makes a prediction of the future while calling upon the reader to reflect on the issue.

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Once the writer is convinced of full compliance with the requirements mentioned in the above stages of the writing process, the last step is known as the post-writing process. In it, the essay is revised and edited before submission.

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Revision and Editing

These are the stage that begins when post-writing as the work nears a conclusion. The writer takes this as an opportunity to improve their work before submitting the final draft. During this stage, the writer adds, moves, cuts, and changes information to improve on the essay content. Moreover, the writer looks into their ideas with a view of modifying them or changing them to make them more clear, accurate or interesting, or more persuading. It involves checking for anomalies such as wordiness, passive voice and revising them accordingly.

Editing, on the other hand, involves an instance whereby a writer takes a second look at how they expressed their ideas with a view of perfecting their final work. It involves changing or adding words or correcting grammar, sentence structure, or writing style mistakes to improve on their ideas. It may also involve the substitution of words with more appropriate ones and phrases to enhance the conviction of ideas or arguments supposed in the essay. It is the process that makes the essay sound more mature, polished and makes the end product a furnished work of writing. The writer takes a second look at their work by revising their words and phrases used initially to express their ideas, arguments, sentence structure, and punctuation marks. Most importantly, this part ensures the coherence of the entire essay paper. The writer ensures that their ideas and arguments in each paragraph are revised to combine them together and arrange them in a logical flow. It is at this stage that the writer checks the consistency of the transitions while revising and replacing the words and phrases to enhance the chronological flow of ideas and arguments explored in the essay.

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Peer reviews are also involved in this last process of writing an essay. High-level essays or other kinds of writings at colleges may require an additional professional review to ensure perfection of the work before publication. Peer reviews are necessary and advised for serious academic examinations and publications. During this stage, the revised and edited draft is submitted by the writer to another writer for objective and professional feedback. The process can prove fruitful because it helps writers reconceive ideas through objective feedback about their essays. Once the peer review results are ready, the writer has the responsibility of incorporating the useful feedback from this exercise.


This is the part in the structure that highlights all resources relied on during the pre-writing and writing process. It includes books, journals, articles, websites, and other online materials supporting the subject matter of the essay. For consistency, a writer is advised to employ and stick to one of the several referencing styles and formats in the discipline of writings. Instructions pertaining to referencing styles will always vary from one essay discipline to another.

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