Deciding you want to write an essay is a great leap forward away from the mundane routine that is life. If you have to write an essay of your own choosing because a teacher or professor told you so, then this should still be helpful to you.
The first thing you’ll want to do is brainstorm for ideas. Jot down any ideas you may get. They may seem ridiculous or very serious. They can be anywhere from single words to phrases to whole sentences. Don’t limit yourself. Let your mind wander and just write down whatever passes through.
Once you’ve done that, examine the list of topics you’ve created. Cross off any that repeat. Choose the top five topics that interest you. If this is a research essay, now would be a good time to start doing research on these topics. Keep in mind while you write your essay any formatting that may be needed (e.g.: MLA).
Now that you’ve collected the research needed for the topics, it’s time to outline. Yes, you’re going to be writing an intricate outline for each topic. Your introductory paragraph(s) should hint at what you’re going to be talking about in your essay, and maybe even give your position on a given topic. Your body paragraphs should always be longer than your introductory paragraph and should also give examples of your argument. Remember to use quotes and citation if this is a research essay, and outline where they should go. Your conclusion paragraph should sum up what you’ve said and what your position is on the topic.
With five outlines completed, you’re almost ready to do the actual writing. Choose which topic interests you the most, or which topic you feel the most capable of writing for based off of the outlines you’ve done. Once you’ve done that, keep the outline for the topic you’ve chosen nearby and start writing.
Your essay may be finished, but your task is not yet done. Look over your essay and check for any grammatical errors, punctuation errors, or a lack of flow in logic. Your outline should have prevented your essay from seeming all over the place. Make the changes required. You’re still not done yet, though.
Find two friends who would be willing to look over your essay. Don’t ask them for their opinion on the topic, per se, but ask them for what they think of how it sounds. Has what you’ve written made sense? Having another set of eyes looking over your paper could point out some fatal flaws that you yourself have looked over. Again, make the needed changes.
Have a different two friends look over the final product. If there’re no more errors to speak of, then you’re done! Be proud knowing that you’ve done a good job and that you’ve accomplished a goal by finishing your essay.