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English Composition 2

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Writing an Essay Made Easier

        Writing an essay can be a very detailed and time consuming assignment. Making a plan of action even before I begin to write helps me to be better prepared. The more organized I am with this plan of action, the faster and smoother the writing becomes. In addition to being organized, there exist techniques that are helpful in completing the assigned essay. Essay writing illustrates the ability to use helpful techniques such as annotating sources, outlining thoughts, choosing synonyms, and proofreading essay that can result in a successful paper.

        The techniques that serve most helpful to me in writing an essay deal with the sources. After deciding on my paper’s thesis statement, I search for my sources. I find it very helpful to search for more sources than what are recommended for the assignment. This assures me that I will have plenty of solid evidence that will support my thesis statement. Once I find my sources and have a hard copy for each, I read and annotate each source carefully to find evidence that will best fit into my essay. Annotating the articles thoroughly using different colored pens or pencils makes it easy for me to organize the information. After annotating is complete and I feel good about the evidence I find, I create my works cited page, even before I begin writing my essay. This makes inserting the in-text citations in my writing much easier than producing a works cited page after writing is completed. Then if I do not use all the sources that I find during my search, I can easily erase those sources from the works cited page. I find it very important for me to take my time finding multiple sources, annotating them carefully, and then forming a works cited page before I even begin writing. Organizing this information I collect from my sources serves as another helpful technique for me.

        Once all the sources are organized and annotated, I find it beneficial to develop an outline. An outline allows me to write my essay smoothly and efficiently. By identifying the highlights of the introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion in outline form, I can visualize where I put my main points of thought. It is easier to add or delete information to an outline rather than to a written essay. An outline serves basically as a very condensed version of the essay. It allows me to see the steps needed to complete as I write. I recommend making an outline before starting the essay, because an outline allows for a smooth progression of the main ideas of the essay. An outline also aids in preventing the dreaded procrastination!

        A big obstacle that I have sometimes faced when writing essays is procrastination. I know I am not the only student who has experienced this problem. Since I started college and have been writing more, I find that it is much easier and less stressful to write an essay within the first few days it is assigned. I now prefer writing essays early so that I have plenty of time to work on it and to prevent the anxiety and stress that come with procrastination. Cramming an essay assignment late at night does not provide me with full thoughts and a clear mind. I have a better peace of mind getting the essay completed with days to spare. Once the essay is done, I read the essay several times out loud to myself. This allows me to understand the flow of my paper and to fix any grammatical errors if needed. If reading out loud is not enough, I recommend having a peer edit your paper. This allows for another point of view and could provide other ideas or suggestions for making your essay better. The peer critiques have helped me significantly while taking the English Composition 2 class. The critiques showed me what I did correctly, what I could have improved on, as well as inspired me to do better. With beginning the essay process early, fighting against procrastination, and proofreading the essay out loud, many problems with essay writing can be prevented. One such problem that can exist from not getting feedback on your paper is a boring paper.

        I find that a boring paper results from the multiple use of the “be” verbs. For example, using “is” throughout an essay results in a passive paper with not much action. The synonym search on the Internet for “be” verbs or for any word proves for me to be a valuable tool for adding spice to my paper. Do not be afraid to look up synonyms that can add more interest and intelligence into an essay, especially for the “be” verbs. For example, before I begin writing I make a list of the common words. For “is,” my list might include the following synonyms: exists, represents, illustrates, occurs, transpires, and remains. These are words that possibly can replace the “be” verb and add more interest to the reading. Replacing common, repetitive words with different and more creative words can offer a better quality paper, just from using synonyms.

        I often find success in my essays when I focus on the task, take my time, and use helpful techniques. Finding more sources than what are recommended allows me to plug in the appropriate information into my paper. Completing a works cited page at the beginning of the process makes inserting in-text citations with ease while I write. Forming an outline allows me to organize the important pieces of information into my paper. Also, once I finish writing my essay, I find it beneficial to read it out loud and have a peer review the essay. Synonyms can offer a variety of choices to replace the more common words as well as supply more action words. These helpful techniques assist me with writing a successful essay. I have learned that following these guidelines allows me to complete an essay assignment, knowing I have done my best.