Guest Author - Elizabeth Stuttard
With the outline you have written and your notes on your sources, you can write a rough draft of the paper. It should begin with an introduction which will grasp the interest of the reader so that s/he will want to keep on reading. Your thesis should be included in the introduction which will state your position on the subject about which you are writing. Following the introduction will be the body of the essay. Each paragraph must use your ideas and your research to back up your thesis. After your points have been made, the final paragraph is a conclusion in which you summarize your ideas and how they corroborate your thesis. Next write the bibliography and do the title page with the title of the paper, the date the paper is due, and your name. Using your notes and your outline, this will probably be the easiest part of writing the essay. The next part will probably be the most difficult, so leave your rough draft at least overnight before you begin to edit it.
The next day you can begin to edit the essay. Check it for spelling and grammar. Remember that you should use the spelling and grammar check in your word processor, but that they do not find every error. Make sure your ideas are presented in the order that you want and that readers will understand your ideas clearly. Then leave the essay for a day before rereading it again. This will allow you to look at it with fresh eyes and you may notice more easily some things you would like to change or mistakes that you missed the day before. Read it aloud as this helps to find sentences which may be confusing to a reader or mean something different than what you intended. Finally do a final check to make sure you have followed all the instructions regarding the length of the essay, the margin sizes, font size, and any other technical rules that were given in the assignment. It can be a good idea to get someone else or even more than one person to read the essay for you. They may see spelling or grammar errors that you have missed. Also they may ask you a question if they are confused or donít understand what you are saying. That can be very helpful because it gives you the chance to clarify the point before turning in the essay. However, you should make it clear that you are not looking for feedback on the style of your writing or the argument you are making. That might be good feedback before you begin your next paper, but it is not helpful at this point when your paper is finished unless you have the time to start over.
Your completed essay is often the main method used to determine your grade in college or university courses so you will want to make sure you are able to write an excellent one. Experience will help you to improve over time so make sure you take note of any remarks that the instructor notes on your paper. Also, if you ever have questions about the best way to do something or donít understand something, always check with your instructor. Following the above steps will help you to write good quality essays for your distance learning courses.