Writing an essay can be a daunting task, especially if you are not used to doing so. Being able to write well and efficiently is important in all stages of life, from school to work to even personal projects like blogging. There are many tips out there on how to write the perfect essay, but here are 8 of my favorites that will have you writing excellent papers in no time!

1) Introduce your topic

Before you dive into your paper, it’s best to catch your reader’s attention. Think about what they are already interested in and how that relates to your topic. Introduce your topic with a specific problem or question—make sure you understand and explain it fully before moving on. If you choose to go with a narrative introduction, make sure it immediately grabs your reader. This helps readers see how things relate to their own lives and gives them something more concrete to grasp onto when thinking about an idea or problem themselves.

2) Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is a key part of your essay and will most likely appear in your introduction. It’s your main idea and lets readers know what you’re going to talk about. The thesis statement should be specific, and not introduce anything new in your body paragraphs. Make sure that each body paragraph supports one point from your thesis. A strong thesis has three components: a claim, evidence, and analysis/argument. Think of it as an inverted triangle with analysis at its peak, arguments on either side, and evidence supporting those arguments below.

3) Outline your points

Once you have an idea of your main points, it’s important to come up with a way to structure them. If you’re doing an essay, for example, you can use an outline to list all of your main ideas and support them in a logical way. This makes it easy to stay on track while writing. Use a computer program like Word or Google Docs if possible so that you can easily create subheadings or color code your outline if needed. Don’t be afraid to go back and edit once done if something isn’t clear or seems out of place! With each piece of writing, don’t just focus on doing well at first; do better every time!

4) Use descriptive language

A great essay draws you in with powerful descriptions. Not only will an impressive word choice help communicate your ideas more clearly, but it will add a bit of flair to your writing. To get started, try looking through your text with a critical eye and mark any phrases that could be spruced up. The next time you find yourself sitting down to write, try replacing one or two of these words with descriptive alternatives. Chances are good you’ll quickly fall in love with how much easier it is to put pen to paper when you aren’t second-guessing every single phrase in your head!

5) Proofread, proofread, proofread

From comma splices to sentence fragments, there are plenty of ways for a sentence to sound grammatically incorrect. Don’t rely on spell-check or other grammar-checking software to catch these mistakes. Just like a doctor doesn’t prescribe medicine without examining his or her patient first, you shouldn’t submit an essay without proofreading it thoroughly first. Often, only by rereading your work multiple times can you pick up on all of your errors.

6) Keep it short

Just because you have time to write doesn’t mean you have space on your page. Keep it simple and to-the-point. Don’t be afraid to go over word limits if you think something deserves more attention, but be careful not to make your essay feel overwritten—even when there is a limit, aim for conciseness and clarity. You don’t want any part of your argument to feel rushed or confusing because of unnecessary lengthiness.

7) Voice and tone matters!

The voice and tone of your essay should be appropriate to its purpose. If you’re writing a history paper, choose your words carefully so you come across as an expert; if you’re writing an English paper, keep it casual to sound conversational. Aim for authenticity—don’t try to affect a big vocabulary or fancy prose that doesn’t fit with your personality or topic. Keep in mind that readers care about what you have to say and how you say it, so make sure both are clear and accurate!

8) Get feedback from peers, teachers or professionals

Before you submit your essay to an assignment, it’s a good idea to get some professional feedback on it. While friends and family can offer helpful pointers (and help spot typos), their suggestions won’t always be useful or appropriate for your essay. Teachers and other professionals who regularly read essays will be able to give you some advice on how to develop your piece and help spot areas that need improvement. Even if you don’t like what they say about your work, getting feedback from someone (maybe an essay writer) outside of school is a great way to improve as a writer.