Four Steps To Write The Best Essay You’ve Ever Written
Follow these steps to turn your next essay into a masterpiece
Are you going to hit publish already, or do you want to turn your essay into a masterpiece? Your pièce de résistance?
You might be happy with the first draft or feel too lazy to review it. That’s natural. Unfortunately, it’ll take some more effort to produce something that will last.
So take a break and come back after a few hours or days.
You’ll then follow these four steps to review your draft.
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Read your text with a focus on your content. Does everything make sense?
Follow a system like CUBA or CRIBS. This means you’ll highlight (and change) everything that is:
CUBA: Confusing, Unbelievable, Boring, Awkward
CRIBS: Confusing, Repeated, Interesting, Boring, Surprising
Add visual language, examples, stats and images to make your point. Go from abstract to clear and trustworthy.
Pro tip: It’s good to get another pair of eyes on it. Ask someone else to review this for you.
Read again after eliminating the boring parts and untangling the confusing sentences.
Go line by line and consider how you can make the individual sentences shorter and clearer.
How can you say the same thing in fewer words to improve clarity?
Use these rules to review your sentences:
- Replace long words with shorter ones.
- Write actively.
- Follow the rule of one. One thought per sentence. One argument per paragraph. One idea per text.
- Keep it nice and short. More full stops; fewer commas. More whitespace; fewer long paragraphs.
- Cut the words that don’t add value.
These are several words to avoid:
- Adverbs. Express what you mean with a stronger verb instead.
- Opinions: Words like “personally”, “to me”, “in my opinion” and “honestly” are superfluous. Some words and expressions are wordy. “To” is mostly the same as “in order to”. “That” can be deleted in many sentences.
- “As a matter of fact”, “needless to say”, “and again”, “In conclusion” and “in other words” lead to repetitions.
Read it out loud
This is the third round of review. Now, you’re focusing on flow.
- Does everything sound right?
- Does one line lead you to the next?
- Are there any abrupt topic changes?
If there seems to be a roadblock, add transition words or rephrase your paragraph.
Worst case, add a subtitle between two paragraphs if it doesn’t flow.
Pro tip: Drop anchors in your text. These are little blocks of text to check if the reader is still following you and to remind them where they are at.
Spelling, grammar and style review
There should be no more bumps in the road by now. Your text should be logical, to the point and easy to read.
Just give it one last read to get the punctuation right and clear your text of those embarrassing spelling mistakes. Because I know they’re there.
Apps like Grammarly or Hemingway App can help you along the way.
To show me you’ve got it, comment one thing you’d improve about the text in this blog post.