In College

"The Ultimate Guide to Writing the Perfect Essay"


So, I spent a little too much time thinking about an interesting blog post to write. 

And the topic was literally in front of my eyes. I have a literature paper due today, and I had been working non-stop on it because of three reasons:

 1.  I looove writing, proofreading, reviewing... The whole process of writing an essay.

 2.  I am convinced my American Literature class is and will be the best class in my college career. sorry not sorry Calculus...

 3.  I freaking love this essay's topic!



So, the paper is a literature analysis of J. Scott Fitzgerald's short story "Winter Dreams" but focused on the love relationship between the two main characters. And well, I am a girly girl so I love romance and all, but we are talking about Fitzgerald, not everything is a bed of roses. If you had read (or watched) the Great Gatsby, you know what I am talking about. If you haven't, what are you waiting?

Research
Or in my case read the book. This is where you gather all your materials, read all those papers, and highlight the important stuff.

On my ENG 101 class, my professor was big on the process of writing a paper. She made us print all the articles that we wanted to use, read them consciously and then read them a second time while highlighting the ideas that we wanted to use.

This was not only a time saver at the time to write the works cited page, but having the printed version lets you take notes and write comments on the sides. I guess you can do the same on a PDF... I just like the old fashioned way.

Pro Tip: Look up essays from similar topics and read them, take note on interesnting ideas or quotes that may help support your paper. But, don't you dare copy and paste it! It's plagiarism and, to some extent, cheating.

Brainstorm 
A great, and super aesthetic way to brainstorm, is to sit in a coffee place and just write down all the ideas you have on the topic, the main points that you want to cover, and everything that comes to your mind. Just write... Do not check grammar or spelling, just make a long list (or whatever suits you), let it flow.

Pro tip: Let the brainstorm guide you to the right thesis. You don't want to be writing about something you don't believe in or you have no knowledge on. So, the brainstorm will show you what is important enough for you.

Make a Game Plan
And I am talking about an outline! Am I the only one who gets excited by this? 

In this part, pretty much all you have to do is go back to the top of your brainstorm list and organize all those amazing ideas. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be perfect. You will probably change the order when you are actually writting the paper and that is alright.

Make sure to make a point for all the main big ideas you want to develop. Also, write, below each, the little ideas and quotes that are going to support the big idea. At the same time, this is a good place to finish your thesis.

Pro Tip: Include all the quotations on your outline. Pretty much write the main idea and the quotes that support the idea below. This will save so much time. 

Write, write, write
Oh yeah, the fun (stressful) part, writing the actual paper. I would love to say that my writing is super organized and I go from intro to conclusion in one siting, but no... 

My writing is super messy. i start a paragraph jump to the conclusion back to the paragraph, a little in the intro, blah, blah, blah. But it works for me. It usually takes ma a couple days to actually write the whole paper because I get random ideas while in the bus, working out, or even in class. 

Introduction and Conclusion
I don't know if this is the same for you, but omg this two paragraphs take me so much time and thought. As the essay writer passionate that I am, I obviously want a super catchy hook, a strong thesis, and a thoughtful conclusion. Pretty much I work on this parts during the whole process of writing an essay, and pretty much edit them a thousand times.

Revise
Revising includes so much... Grammar and spelling, logic of the paper, credibility...

For grammar and spelling, you can use online tools that will check this for you. One of my favorites is Grammarly, another good one is Reverso Spell Checker. 

For the structure of the paper, some great tools are Hemingway App which pretty much tells you if your sentences are long, complex, simple.. At the same time, it shows you the adverbs and prepositional phrases. An even more advanced tool, this is for you essay writer lovers, there is Slick Write which goes a step further and gives you, the same as the previous one, but with graphs and percentages.

Citations and Works cited Page
Maybe I should have mention this before but oh well... When you are researching, collecting wuotes and ideas, make sure to save the citation information, or at least the website. It is so frustrating to be missing a page number and not being able to find it. 

For real, having a list of this will save you so much time and stress. I learned this the hard way... 2 hours before the essay was due, I couldn't find the article from where I had gotten all this amazing quotes that supported my essay perfectly. I found them at the end but that was unnecessary stress.

Pro Tip: If you don't want to use an actual citation book cause who does that? (Me freshman year on my ENG 101, my professor was kind of a citation freak) You can use online tools like EasyBib or BibMe. But if all fails, Purdue Writing Lab got you.

Format and last touches
APA, MLA, Chicago, or...? Make sure you know what type of format does your professor want and make sure to follow the guidelines of it. 

Also, double check the quotes and ideas "borrowed" are in-text cited the right way. And lastly, check the margins, spacing, and letter size; you don't want to lose silly points because of format.

Pro tip: Create a template with the different essay formats that you need for each class. Also, a good idea is to include the heading, you know, name, class and section , professor... This will save you some minutes that you can use for binge watching some Riverdale.

Ask your friends
My amazing boyfriend is always the last person to read my essay before hitting the submit button. I want to think he really enjoys reading them but i don't know... some are pretty boring and lame. He always double check my grammar and gives me his sincere opinion on the actual content and the way I explain my ideas.

It is really helpful to have a third person read your papers. you had been working on it for so long, you will not catch up the spelling or grammar mistakes.

Hit submit!
Or hand it in or whatever you have to do, and super high five yourself cause omg you are amazing! Now, some relaxation me time. 

Don't forget to pin it :)



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