An essay is only as good as it can communicate its information. In line with this, no effort to make the information plain and effectively worded should be spared. Five main steps can be used to make an essay easily understandable. They are the preparation, organization, writing, revision, and editing stages. Followed well, these steps should result in an enjoyable piece, for both the writer and the targeted reader.
The preparation stage involves, first of all, making sure that you have a suitable working area. This area should not be cluttered with unnecessary things that will distract you once you start working on the essay. All the stationery and other accessories that you may need during your work should also be on hand. You should also make sure that nobody else will come and distract you midway through the work. Shut the door to the room if there are some noises in the neighborhood, and put up a “don’t disturb” sign on it. This should leave you with an environment conducive to focusing on the work at hand.
While still in the planning stage, you should list down all the ideas available for the main theme under which you want to write. These ideas should then be analyzed in terms of their relevance to the theme, and the information available for each of them. The writer’s knowledge and interest in each of the ideas may also determine whether an idea will be included in the essay. After all, if the reader is to understand a concept, it must be first of all be clear to the writer. Any idea that remains vague in this sense should hence be discarded.
With the ideas in place, it is time to write a thesis statement. The thesis statement should be a distillate of all the ideas that have finally qualified to be included in the essay. This statement should then serve as a beacon to the word flow within the essay, directing how each idea will be expressed and related to the rest. Therefore, it is important to make the thesis statement as specific as possible, without necessarily cutting down on its subject scope. The targeted length of the essay would be a prime determinant of how broad the thesis statement can be.
With the thesis statement as a guideline, start expounding on each idea systematically. This is the writing stage and involves merging all the ideas into one flowing essay that effectively highlights and clarifies each idea in sequence. Some ideas naturally will feel better placed at the beginning, while others may be better towards the conclusion of the essay. Pay attention to this “natural progression” flow. Fight off the odd chance of writer’s block by writing whatever comes into mind at the moment on the ideas. The revision phase can easily weed out any irrelevances later on. The writing phase should be finished as soon as possible.
During the revision stage, each sentence put down during the writing stage is scrutinized for relevance and suitability. This revision stage is the most time-consuming phase since it is the stage that strives to make the information understandable by a third party. In line with this, it is a good idea to read aloud the essay and feel how it sounds. Getting another person to read the essay and comment on its understandability maybe even more useful. Any redundant parts should be weeded out from the essay. On the other hand, any idea or concept that appears vague should be clarified.
Finally, edit the essay, being on the lookout for mechanical errors. During this phase, typographical errors, grammar, spelling, and so on should be checked out. It is a good idea to distance yourself from the essay for some time before embarking on editing it. But since it remains difficult to spot these errors by yourself, get another person to go through it. You can proofread the work as many times as you want, but as with everything else, there is a time to stop.