You may or may not know this but, the best writing occurs in several stages. Even before you can begin writing, the very first step often involves coming up with a great idea- and this isn’t always the easiest thing to do.


Even with a clear prompt and a firm understanding of the material, getting started on an essay can still be impossible. Fortunately, all writers face this challenge. As such, if you have ever found yourself staring at a blank Word document unable to translate your thoughts into a coherent, thought-provoking and well-articulated essay, then you are among friends.

While essay writing can be a dreaded task that no one looks forward to, the honest truth is that a lot of students end up making the process harder than it should be. Because essays are huge projects, it helps to break things down into small manageable parts. There are also certain things that you can do to make the process less overwhelming. Here are some things that you should do before writing your essay:


To ensure that you get started off on the right note, it is important to plot out a schedule that can help you approach your essay writing. Your schedule should include time for brainstorming, researching and making drafts. When making your plan, it is essential to be realistic about what you can handle. As such, if you happen to figure out very early on in the process that you need essay writing help, be sure to ask for it- it will take the headache out of the process.


Brainstorming involves taking a quick inventory of your thoughts and ideas. As such, if you have a whirlwind of ideas running around your brain, brainstorming will allow you to take note of them by writing them down. Brainstorming usually ends up looking like a list rather than a coherent piece of writing, so do not worry if your brainstorming ideas are all over the place- it only matters whether or not you will be able to make sense of them when the time comes.

Understand the essay question fully

Before you can even start writing, it is very critical that you understand the essay question completely as this is an important part of the writing process. Ensure to set some time aside in a quiet space that can allow you to explore the meaning of your essay topic, as well as what your professor requires or expects from you. One way to get a grip on the essay topic can be to write it out highlighting the instructions or any phrases in the instructions that may seem important or worth exploring.

Plan your research

Your research for your essay should be methodical and orderly and not random or disorganized. The best way to carry out research for an essay is to target it to what is relevant, which might require you to go through your handouts or lecture notes. Though most students often ignore them, handouts and lecture notes are important in essay writing because they serve as useful background information that can help you focus on specific areas of research. The last thing you want when writing an essay is to spend time on hours and hours of irrelevant research that will not help you answer the essay question.