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So, you’ve picked a topic and you have a plethora of wonderful ideas running through your head. You’ve know the requirements for the assignment, and what your professor is seeking. You’ve even completed research! And the deadline for the essay isn’t for fourteen hours yet.
But how do you get the essay actually written? You’ve already stalled by baking muffins and cleaning the bathroom because you’re not sure how to organize all your fantastic thoughts.
There are several ways you can organize your ideas, making the actual essay writing thereby easier. One strategy is to write down every thought and research tidbit you have on a piece of large paper. Then you can circle or number the ideas that appear to go together or are evidence of the same point. These grouped ideas will all go in the same paragraph, and it gives you an idea of what that paragraph is about. Any extra ideas can be expanded on with further thought or research, and repetitive phrases can be eliminated.
Another organizational strategy, maybe for someone doing a literary analysis, would be a web. You can place character traits or themes in a bubble and attach corresponding points to the appropriate bubble. Then you’ll be able to easily see if you have enough information for a full paragraph, or which one needs more work before you actually start to write.
For an essay that deals with the comparison of subjects, a Venn Diagram is a useful planning too. It consists of two interlocking circles that have the two subjects listed in each. Information matching each subject is placed in the corresponding circle, and any information that is common between the two is placed in the middle (interlocking) circle. With this strategy, the essay is planned out visually, with each paragraph’s information already sorted.
Planning and organizing your information before you start writing your essay may seem tedious, but it is a necessary step in the essay writing process. It will make paragraphs clearer and your entire essay more concise. The writing time will be cut down, as you won’t have to be looking for the quote or statistic that you need; it will already be organized in front of you.