This post accompanies an Instagram post about how I plan essays. To find out more click here!
Essays- love them or loathe them- if you are a student you have probably encountered your fair share. The course I take has no exams (fantastic) but this also means every piece of work I submit is an essay of some kind, so I have LOTS of experience. Of course, I am by no means an expert but here are a few of my top tips-
Planning is everything-
Where would we be without planning? Planning, to me, is the bedrock of essay writing. It is 10x harder to begin the process of writing without a solid plan. Whether it's a mindmap full of ideas or pages of notes- something is better than nothing. It gives you structure, focus and most importantly stops you feeling lost. You may not stick to it and that's fine but it is easier to go ahead with one.
Reference as you go along-
I cannot stress this enough- reference as you go along! Referencing, whatever system you use is a bit meh. It's the worst bit of the essay, it's the bit we all put off- don't. Every time you cite something- reference that bad boy straight away. This saves those nasty and stressful sessions where all you want to do is sleep because you've finished writing but you can't because there is still so much to do!
Write first, edit later-
I am a rambler, it is a rare essay where I do not exceed the word count. That 10% leeway we get? I use it every damn time. If you are like me and struggle with wordcounts then write first, edit later. It's the scariest thing to do but just sitting down and writing as much as you can whether it is over or not gives you a better space to edit. I found that the essays where I tried to cut down words as I went along were worst because I was missing large chunks of argument due to self-editing, whereas if you just write you can lose filler words later. Let's face it- those words have to go at some point, so it's better to have too many and a fully fleshed out essay that can lose a few 'therefore' and 'howevers' than an essay that just isn't very good.
Hope this helps!