It’s officially that time of the year when I’m knee-deep in writing (and procrastinating, hence my decision to write this post) my final essays and panic is about to set in for almost every student. Now that it’s final essay and dissertation prep time, its a good time evaluate not only my writing style but the prep and time put into it. In the end I’ve come to a conclusion with some basic tips and some subtle changes that I might have forgotten in the past.
This means some tips and tricks starting with the most obvious:
- Don’t write the night before, or even just the week before. Writing a good essay requires good research, which takes time. Additionally, the more I research a topic, the easier I find it to develop a good argument.
- Make multiple drafts. The process of writing takes time and multiple drafts help develop your points further and make them as clear as possible.
- Be clear and concise. Don’t ramble and use filler words, it only takes away from your main points. And if you’ve done the research, you shouldn’t have trouble making another point in your argument. Stay concise when you right, if nothing but for the word count, if you can say something in five words, say it in five words, not more.
- Be as specific as you can. This is where using ‘more’ words is actually better, give details when necessary to give substance to your argument.
- Focus on providing a well rounded argument. When you’re trying to prove your point, make sure to mention the counterargument. Mentioning the opposition, only furthers your argument by acknowledging there are other point of views, but yours is correct.
- Don’t think you need to write in order. Writing should be the process of thinking, write different sections or topics down and then go back, organise, connect and make them flow. This means, don’t worry about writing your introduction first and so on. Chances are the introduction will be easier to write last because you know where to lead the reader after you’ve written the body.
- Make it flow. Nothing takes away from your argument like a jumping around and confusing your reading. Read your paper through and make sure you can logically get from one point and paragraph to the next.
- Proof read, re-read, and proof read again! And again! I’m a terrible proofreader so I always have as many people as I can read my essays. But if I’m in a bind or just want that last run through before I submit it, I read it aloud. Actually, I almost always read it aloud (see above). It’s silly but very useful. If I’m stumbling over a phrase, so will the professor and it makes you focus on each individual word and spelling.
Hopefully this will help some more people writing and editing final papers.
Happy writing and good luck!