Staying Focused &
Writing an Essay
The First Step
Write an Outline:
Know your topic
Address your main points
Decide what audiences you would like
your essay to reach
Research resources for your topic, and
be sure there are enough available
sources pertaining to your subject
The Second Step
Know the Purpose of Your essay:
Are you trying to persuade,
inform, make an argument or
entertain your audience?
The Third Step
Stay focused and minimize
Yes, shut the TV and turn your cell
phone on silent!
Write however you feel most
Using a pen and paper or a
Sitting on the couch or at a desk
Get in the right room settings
– low or high lighting
Whatever works best for you
• Intrigue the reader
Grab your audience’s attention in the first few sentences of your
essay. Do this by opening with an interesting fact, Quote or
• State the argument
It is important that your reader is aware from the
beginning what you will be discussing in your essay.
This will ensure your essay is clear and persuasive.
Then, briefly summarize your topic in just one or two
sentences. Be sure to include your thesis statement.
The Introduction Continued…
• Introducing your evidence:
After catching your reader’s attention and
stating your argument, a good introduction
should introduce the points of the topic or the
evidence that you plan to explain in the main
body paragraphs of the essay in order to
support your thesis. This does not have to be
Each body paragraph should
have the same basic
structure: one of your main ideas, in
• Start by writing down
If your main idea is “reduces highway traffic,quot; you
could start with this:
“Public transportation reduces highway traffic.”
• Next, write down each of your supporting points for
that main idea
• Write down some elaboration for that point that can be
further description or explanation or discussion.
• Include a summary sentence for each paragraph.
• The conclusion should be a short
recap/summary of what you’ve written
in your body paragraphs. You’re
basically reminding the audience about
what you’ve told them and adding any
“concluding” statements you feel are
appropriate for your topic.
And Finally… The Writing Step
Questions to ask yourself while writing to Have I used paragraphs?
Do all my paragraphs have a topic
stay focused on your topic and allow
your topic to guide your structure sentence?
Do I fully develop one idea per
Questions vary depending on the paragraph?
purpose of your essay* Is my writing correct?
Have I answered the question? Have I checked for spelling errors
Is it clear what value(s) I am myself, without relying on spell-check?
discussing? Have I checked for grammar errors
Have I referenced something and without relying on a grammar checker?
explained how there is a connection to Have I checked my facts: dates,
the topic? document titles, names, etc.?
Have I explained fully how I can put
the idea(s) into practice?
Have I said what I wanted to say?
Is my essay well-written?
quot;Guide to Writing a Basic Essay.quot; Basic Guide to Essay Writing 22 02 2009 Web.28
Apr 2009. <http://members.tripod.com/~lklivingston/essay/>.
quot;How to Write an Essay.quot; About (2005) Web.27 Apr 2009.
Chapman, Kimberly. quot;How to Write an Essay.quot; (2005) Web.28 Apr 2009.
quot;Tools for College Writing.quot; Staying on Topic/ Keeping Focus Web.27 Apr 2009.