Steps to Writing an Essay: A Guide to Writing Outstanding Essays Steps to Writing an Essay: A Guide to Writing Outstanding Essays
College and university students must possess strong essay-writing skills to achieve their academic goals. Instructors assess an individual’s mastery of the subject matter by... Steps to Writing an Essay: A Guide to Writing Outstanding Essays

College and university students must possess strong essay-writing skills to achieve their academic goals. Instructors assess an individual’s mastery of the subject matter by how well they tackle essay prompts. Besides, essays demonstrate how well a student can communicate the knowledge they acquire to others, which determines the overall score.

Many learners across different academic levels admit that writing a good essay is not as easy as it sounds. However, that shouldn’t be the case if you have a better understanding of the steps to writing an essay.

Always remember that an essay must follow a specific structure. Therefore, you should strictly follow the instructions, fulfill structural requirements, and accurately answer the essay prompt. Carefully read the step-by-step guide below to help you master the essay writing process.

5 Essential Pre-Writing Steps for Writing an Essay

Choose an appropriate topic

One of the essential essay-writing steps is selecting an appropriate topic. Before you rush to start writing, ensure you select a topic that you are passionate about and one that interests you. As a result, the research and writing process will be fun, helping you draft an outstanding paper.

Understand the topic

In some cases, your instructors might give you an essay prompt. In such a case, begin by critically analyzing the topic to ensure you fully understand what you should write. It is one of the most critical steps in writing an essay since it creates the foundation of the entire writing process.

Brainstorm ideas and arguments

Once you are confident about the topic you are writing about, determine the main idea and write down the arguments you want to put across to support your main idea. Professionals from essay writing service advise you to consider counterarguments at this stage since they will help you determine the most vital points to convince your readers to support your point of view.

Research credible evidence

After identifying the arguments to include in your essay, proceed to research external resources that you will use to give credibility to your point of view. Remember that academic papers require high-quality resources that are reputable, credible, and whose information is reliable. Examples of such sources include:

  1. Journals
  2. Books
  3. Government websites
  4. Peer-reviewed articles

Create an outline

An outline will help you to organize your thoughts. You will decide which arguments you should present first. You will also determine which points are stronger than others and how well you transition from one point to the other. If you are writing an argumentative essay, you will understand how to logically present arguments and counterarguments to persuade your readers to support your point of view.

The 5 Essay Writing Steps You Should Follow

Write your initial draft

It is the first step in the actual writing process. At this stage, you should consider all the structural requirements to ensure your essay meets the anticipated standards. However, you shouldn’t be worried so much about formatting errors, grammatical mistakes, or even spelling since the key objective of this stage is to put your ideas on paper. Follow your outline to ensure you cover every argument as planned.

What you should include in your initial draft

  • Introduction: A formal essay must begin with an introductory paragraph that provides your readers with a birds-eye view of what you have discussed in your essay. The introduction should give background information to introduce your readers to the topic. Most importantly, it should contain a thesis statement communicating your main idea.
  • Body paragraphs: The body paragraphs contain the arguments and counterarguments you present to your readers that support the main idea. Remember that every body paragraph contains one idea. As you write the body paragraphs, it is advisable to keep referring to the thesis statement to ensure each point you discuss is relevant and contributes to the argument. A standard body paragraph should contain the following:
    • Topic sentence: It communicates the main point discussed in the paragraph.
    • Evidence 1: Supporting evidence from a reputable source. It should be cited appropriately according to the required formatting style.
    • Evidence 2: Counterargument or supporting evidence to reinforce evidence 1.
    • Your argument: This is the sentence that contains your point of view. What you want your readers to support.
    • Linking sentence: t links what you have discussed with the concluding sentence.
    • Conclusion: Summarize what you have discussed and reaffirm the topic sentence.
  • Conclusion: A conclusion is significantly important since it leaves a lasting impression on the reader. You should carefully write the paragraph to summarize the points you have discussed as well as restate the thesis statement in different words. Also, ensure that your conclusion helps the reader understand why they should support your point of view.

Proofread and edit

This is among the most important post-writing steps of writing an essay since it ensures you deliver high-quality papers. At this stage:

  • Make sure you identify and correct grammatical, formatting, and spelling errors.
  • Ensure that your sentences and paragraphs are correctly structured. Check for errors such as sentence fragments and cliches among others. Also, ensure each paragraph contains only one idea.
  • Ensure you have used appropriate words and vocabulary. Read your paper to confirm that you haven’t used jargon, informal words, sensitive language, outdated words, etc. This will ensure you deliver an exceptionally high-quality paper.

Most students find this proofreading and self-editing challenging. If you feel the same, you can request your colleagues help. Otherwise, you can seek the services of professionals who could do it at a fee. Moreover, you can use free or paid online tools such as Grammarly. Whichever option you choose, ensure the final paper is flawless. Remember, errors impact readability, lowering the quality of your paper.

Ensure you fulfilled all the requirements

The last of the steps for writing an essay is ascertaining that you haven’t omitted any instruction. Countercheck your essay against the instructions. For instance:

  • If you were to write a persuasive essay, did you provide a logical argument to prove why your idea is superior? If it is an informative essay, did you include factual, verifiable, and retrievable data?
  • Check whether you followed the structural requirements. For instance, ask yourself the following questions: did I meet the word count? Did I use the required fonts and font size? What about the spacing?  Did I follow the formatting style requirements, such as in-text citation, title page, and references?
  • Finally, ensure that your paper is plagiarism-free. While proper paraphrasing and citing help you avoid plagiarism, running your final work on a plag-checker is advisable to ensure it’s 100% unique.


Whether you are writing a narrative, argumentative, or informative essay, you must fulfill the structural requirements and all the instructions to deliver a quality paper that guarantees high grades. This detailed guide provides the steps you should follow to write an exceptional paper. Before starting your initial draft, you should prepare to ensure the writing process is smooth and logical. Once you finish your paper — take time for the post-writing activities to ensure you deliver a flawless and high-quality essay.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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