Steps in Writing an Essay

Conquer the intimidating task of writing an essay by doing it step by step. You can successfully complete your essay by following some specific steps, using the particular essay writing skills each step needs and coming up after each step with the corresponding component part of the essay or stage of the essay draft.

Step 1

Read everything that is given to you. Understand the question or what you are required to do. Determine the subject, the purpose and the audience.
skills needed: thinking academically
product: subject of the essay

Step 2

Think about what you know about the subject and write them down.
skills needed: brainstorming
product: diagrams or notes

Step 3

Identify relevant books and articles.
skills needed: research skills / library skills
product: reading list

Step 4

If you are given a reading list, look for the books indicated there and study the parts specified or what you determine are relevant.
skills needed: reading skills, specifically skimming and scanning
product: list of materials studied

Step 5

Make notes about the mentioned books and articles.
skills needed: reading in detail; selecting and note taking; paraphrasing; and summarising
product: notes

Step 6

Organise your notes and ideas.
skills needed: planning and organisation
product: plan

Step 7

Write or type your first draft.
skills needed: writing from notes, synthesis, writing paragraphs, typing or computer word processing
product: first draft

Step 8

Discuss your first draft with friends, selected classmates and, if possible, your lecturer.
skills needed: speaking skills, listening skills, discussion skills
product: list of revisions

Step 9

Revise your first draft, considering any comments you received in your discussions. If necessary, go back to Step 2.
skills needed: use of dictionaries and reference books; writing essay introductions and conclusions; quoting or writing a reference list
product: second draft

Step 10

Proofread your draft.
skills needed: proofreading (checking for errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar); checking vocabulary use, style, organisation, references and others; checking for plagiarism
product: a draft which has been proofread (changes marked)

Step 11

Type the final draft.
skills needed: typing or computer word processing; writing essay title (also contents page on some cases)
product: final draft for final proofreading

Step 12

Check everything (final proofreading).
skills needed: proofreading
product: final draft for submission

Step by Step towards Success

The steps given here may seem too many. However, following these will greatly help in overcoming the overwhelming task of writing an essay. Take the first step now and continue on to the next steps one at a time. Discover how each step will take you towards successfully completing the essay writing process.

About Author: Daphne Coleman