Don’t Waste Your Time: How to Start Writing an Essay


The key to getting good grades on your writing assignments at any level is giving yourself enough time to write multiple drafts, with thorough revisions and editing. Unfortunately, many students have a hard time, depriving themselves of the valuable time they need to make their essays better. The result is they submit work that has been written the night before and doesn’t compare to the work they could have done if they had started writing earlier.

Here are some ways to stop procrastinating and get you started on writing your essay:

  • You must write until you’ve exhausted your ideas.
  • Start free-writing and don’t stop to hassle over the small details that need to be corrected. A great way to keep yourself going without being tempted to make corrections is to turn off your spelling and editing functions in your word processing program. The aim is to get better ideas down on the page in less time, the last thing you want to keep seeing are a number of squiggly red lines filling up your paper.

  • Explore each idea thoroughly and creatively.
  • If you come up to a great argument in any section of your draft, you should focus on getting your argument down entirely. It doesn’t matter how illogical it may seem at first glance, the point is that you don’t backtrack. Explore your argument from as many angles that come to you naturally as possible. You’ll find that some of your best ideas develop from just getting them down on paper. The nuts and bolts will come later.

  • Ask yourself questions and answer them as you go.
  • The best essays will prove their point fully and leave no holes in your argument. As you free-write be sure to ask yourself any questions that come to your mind about your topic and go right on ahead and try to answer them with what your first impressions. The questions will serve you better when you start you first full draft. You’ll be able to find ways to counter the doubt you had when you were just free-writing.

Remember that procrastination happens to everyone and for a number of different reasons (e.g., because we expect ourselves to be perfect, because we don’t like our writing, because we’re too busy, etc.), but we needn’t let it take over our writing lives entirely. The best way to combat procrastination is to face it head-on and jump straight into your writing. With practice you’ll find yourself writing more quality content in no time.

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