Writing Advice

Picture this: you have an essay you’ve been putting off for two days, and the essay is due tomorrow. What’s more, if you don’t turn in the essay, you might fail the class. How are you going to escape this one?

Step 1: Outline

First, start by writing an outline, and I’m not talking about the textbook outlines in history class. I’m talking about a rough rundown on how to format your essay. Your outline should include what you want to say in each of your paragraphs. It can be either written or typed. Here is an example:

Step 2: Word Sprint

My next step might be something new to high-schoolers. In the writing world, a popular tactic to write more is called word sprints. To do a word sprint, set a timer, pull up whatever you are working on—in this case, your essay—and just write until the timer runs out. When I say “write,” I mean just type down as much as you can while trying to relate to your topic. Do not look back and check for grammar, just keep writing, just keep writing.

Step 3: Editing

Author Lauren Sapala came up with a great simile for writing: writing is like having a baby. A mother must let the baby be completely born before cleaning things up. This means that, when writing something, don’t fix it as you go; you must write your entire essay first, then you can clean it up and fix it in order to maximise your grade. The reason why it is not best to edit as you go is that, in trying to make perfect sentences, you might scrap good work because you’ve judged it too soon. It is often best to not clean the baby as you put it onto your paper or computer document; no mother does something like that. After you have finished your word sprint, your baby has been born, and it is time to clean it up and edit. Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and make sure that it makes sense!

With this three-step process in hand, you should figure it out in no time.

— Billy Wikol