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Staying Focused &
 Organized When
 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
               distractions.
   Yes, shut the TV and turn your cell
             phone on silent!
     Write however you feel most
               comfortable
       Using a pen and paper or a
                computer
    Sitting on the couch or at a desk
     Get in the right room settings
          – low or high lighting
      Whatever works best for you
The Introduction
• 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
  statistic.


• 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
  long.
Each body paragraph should
     have the same basic
     structure: one of your main ideas, in
•   Start by writing down
  sentence form.
  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

• 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?
Works Cited
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.
   <http://esl.about.com/library/howto/htessay.htm>.
Chapman, Kimberly. quot;How to Write an Essay.quot; (2005) Web.28 Apr 2009.
   <http://kimberlychapman.com/essay/essay.html>.
quot;Tools for College Writing.quot; Staying on Topic/ Keeping Focus Web.27 Apr 2009.
   <http://www.cabrillo.edu/services/writingcenter/290/focus.html>.

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How To Stay on Topic

  • 1. Staying Focused & Organized When Writing an Essay
  • 2. 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
  • 3. The Second Step Know the Purpose of Your essay:  Are you trying to persuade, inform, make an argument or entertain your audience?
  • 4. The Third Step Stay focused and minimize distractions. Yes, shut the TV and turn your cell phone on silent! Write however you feel most comfortable Using a pen and paper or a computer Sitting on the couch or at a desk Get in the right room settings – low or high lighting Whatever works best for you
  • 5. The Introduction • 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 statistic. • 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.
  • 6. 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 long.
  • 7. Each body paragraph should have the same basic structure: one of your main ideas, in • Start by writing down sentence form. 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.
  • 8. The Conclusion • 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.
  • 9. 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?
  • 10. Works Cited 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. <http://esl.about.com/library/howto/htessay.htm>. Chapman, Kimberly. quot;How to Write an Essay.quot; (2005) Web.28 Apr 2009. <http://kimberlychapman.com/essay/essay.html>. quot;Tools for College Writing.quot; Staying on Topic/ Keeping Focus Web.27 Apr 2009. <http://www.cabrillo.edu/services/writingcenter/290/focus.html>.