I’ve forgotten how to write essays.
I only know how to write blog posts. And I can’t even do that well.
I’m supposed to have a thesis? With topic sentences to support my thesis? Then have a conclusion summarizing what I just spent several paragraphs stating?
All the while I have to write clearly, concisely, coherently?
That’s too much to ask from me.
How not to write an essay:
- Change your thesis a million times
- Write a first draft the day before it’s due
- Submit a rough draft
How I write an essay:
- Change your thesis a million and one times
- Write a first draft the night before it’s due
- Submit the very rough draft anyway
Today, a teacher of mine announced to the class that I wrote an awesome research paper. I’m not sure I believe him, but here’s what I did.
- Start researching early. The earlier you start, the more time you have. The later you start, the less time you have. Simple, basic logic. Too bad people enjoy doing this thing called procrastinating. I advise you not to jump on the bandwagon if you plan on writing an A+ paper.
- Let your teacher guide you. Ask questions if you are confused. Seek clarification so you know what your professor is expecting of you. Email them if you’re too shy to speak to them face to face.
- Pick the right number of sources. If you pick too many, your paper may be all over the place. If you pick too few, your paper may sound redundant. Depending on the length of your paper, the number of sources you use will vary. Sometimes your teacher gives a range. If that’s the case, aim to fall in the middle of that range.
- Select the right kind of sources. Some sources won’t help you formulate your thesis, arguments, etc. Pick what you use wisely.
- Record references and thoughts. I didn’t do this but had I done this from the beginning, my life would have been so much easier. I’m giving you a chance to learn from me. Take it.
- Don’t fixate on your arguments too quickly. They may change. So don’t get caught up in saying something that you neglect to say another point that’s even stronger.
- Polish, polish, polish. Grammar mistakes make for bad impressions. Spelling mistakes make for even worse impressions. Your chances of getting a good mark increases every time you read over your work and fix your errors.
- Save, save, save. You never know when the power may go out. A friend of mine learned this the hard way. Don’t make the same mistake she did.