Writing Essays: A Helpful Guide

by Josie Griffith contributor

Writing essays, no matter what the topic, can be really stressful. Even if students have a good idea of what an essay should look like, it doesn’t always come across the page as it should. But writing, like anything else, is a process. And there is bound to be some trial and error. The good news is that there are tons of ways that students can apply different writing tips to whatever projects and essay they are currently working on.

Chose a topic Carefully

This sounds like a non brainer, but sometimes when students feel like there are too many topics to chose from, they can get overwhelmed to say the least. Depending on the topic and the class that the essay is for, there’s a lot of creative freedom here. Which means that picking a good, solid topic to write about can actually increase work flow, and make students more confident when they start writing. The better the topic, the more interesting the writing, and the better the finished product will be!

Care About Your Topic 

This one is a little tricky especially when students are writing an essay for a class or subject that may not be their strong suit or even their favorite. But that’s why it is so important to explore all options that are offered and really pick a topic that speaks to them personally. Even if it’s something that they might not love, they should at least like it. It will reflect in the entire writing process, and will give students something more to think about them just rewriting information. The more you can care about something, the more than you want to learn about it right? Well, writing an essay is no different from practicing something that you love and want to get better at!

Outline and Then Outline Again

Creating a solid plan helps with anything related to the academic world. Meaning that students who have a good, strong plan to help with writing will have a more balanced and neat essay overall. This is especially helpful for students who have a hard time just getting started. Having a clear and tangible outline for an essay means that students can focus more on the information that they are creating, rather than getting caught up in if their ideas make sense and if they are presented the information in a clear and conscience way.  Outlines can look very different. Students can make lists with bullet points, they can draw diagrams, or even just start with a title, a thesis or main point, and then create different ideas and points to bring up. The rest will fall into place because their thoughts are already there!

Pay Attention to Flow and Structure 

One of the hardest parts of writing a good, strong essay is the way that topic and the main points are presented within the essay. This all has to do will the flow and the look of information. Really, what it means is that everything could be in place, but if the essay and the writing itself is choppy or mixed up, then the overall work will seem like there was very little effort put into it and the grade students receive will reflect that. So another helpful tip to consider is just slowing down and making sure that that essay is actually saying what students are trying to convey. It doesn’t take much, but it does take time.

Read Drafts Out-loud 

This idea goes along with the one mentioned above. But again, one of the things that makes a good essay is the way that writing sounds and looks on the page. So, drafting and reading essays and content out loud can really help assist students when they want to make a good polished piece of writing. Reading essays out-loud can help with everything from length to diction to the choice of topic. This is one of those little things that doesn’t seem like it would be important, but trust me. There’s nothing worse that knowing what someone is trying to say but not being able to get the main points from a piece of writing because it’s chaotic.


Rough drafts aren’t just something that teachers use as a tool. Drafts can be really helpful with the overall essay and writing process. Printing different sections and being able to look at them on the page can be really helpful for students who have trouble with keeping everything organized within an essay. This is also a good way to make sure that the spelling and grammar of whatever essays students are dealing with is in the best shape it can be.

Making Sure The Point is on Point

Another simple and helpful tip to think about when drafting essays is to make sure that whatever your main point or augment is, that there’s a call to action and you keep using information and details to back that up. Most of the time, it’s not the writing that is poor, but it’s simply that the main focal points are not backed up by details and organizational writing. This is something that can turn an okay essay into something really great! And once students do it once, it’t not all that hard to do it again. And practice, of course, makes perfect!

There are a ton more way to make the essay process a little smoother. But again, it all depends on what works best for the student in question. While these tips make might more sense for some students who just need to start somewhere, they can also be applied to any and every student. The most important thing to remember when thinking about writing essays, is that these tips are universal. It doesn’t matter if it’s a history paper, a college essay, or even a book report. Any and all of these little things can make a world of difference.

Writing doesn’t have to be this huge, scary thing. even if students are hesitant and think that they can’t write a good essay because they are not “good writers”. Every student can learn the writing process and write some really amazing stuff!

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