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Where to begin? Essay writing can be time consuming and seemingly unbearable. I have gone through school up to a bachelor's degree and have written a lot of essays throughout that time.
There are some tricks to make writing seem a bit easier. I had a hard time for a while being organized and getting papers written well. After a while, I figured out some ways to help.
What I would do is create an outline of main points that I wanted to write about in my paper. I would also put sub points if I could think of some. Usually I would print it out so I could have a hard copy. I like to write on it and highlight it.
If the teacher or professor wanted a certain format, I would adjust the margins and headers or footers or whatever else they wanted. I would put titles if they wanted a cover page or resource page.
I would research the topic I was going to write about and see if I could find valuable resources to use for my points. It is important to try and avoid Wiki or sources that seem like they are biased or poor in quality. I would usually look for some scholarly articles for certain types of papers. If I had new ideas from research I would edit my outline by just writing something in or scratching something out. Sometimes I would slightly edit a point. If I had major outline revisions, I would retype it and reprint.
Once I had the sources I wanted, I would automatically make the resource page of my paper and enter all the sources I had. I find it tedious and don't want that to be the last thing I do. That way, my resource page is done and I can add or delete if needed.
I would also print my sources or certain pages if it was too much to print. It might seem unnecessary but I like being able to have the source in front of me while my paper is on the screen.
The other reason I usually print is because I like to highlight my outline points in different colors. Then I go through my printed sources and highlight what I want to include in the same color as the point on the outline. That way it is organized.
I also get bored when I write long research papers. So by printing and highlighting, I can come back to it later and it makes sense (given there is enough time to leave it for a while and come back...Not too much procrastination).
Intro and Conclusion
I find it easier to write the into and conclusion before writing the body of the paper. In the intro, I introduce the main points and in the conclusion I kind of reiterate the intro. I knew I would need to edit the conclusion when I finish the body, but I got in the habit of at least having something written because I usually struggled with coming up with something to conclude with.
I do the body by basically putting the outline there. That way all my main and sub points are there and I won't forget any. Then I work my way down and write in any research I really liked and cite them correctly. I do that especially for something that stood out, was really important to a point I wanted to make, or quotes. After that I will start from the first point and work down and write the thoughts I want to get out.
Sometimes I print the draft because for some reason it is easier for me to catch errors. If there is time, I would being to to the writing center at school or have someone else read over it. If there are errors or something I want to change, I edit and call it a day.
My way might seem weird or backwards but it is what helped when I did papers. I usually get distracted and this is how I would do things so that if I got bored or distracted, I could pick back up easily.
I have not attended graduate school but I know papers get more intense. I imaging I might do things similarly if I were to try it.