The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Paper

Szűcs László, Unsplash

Welcome back, writers! Here at the Write Place, we like to reflect on the diverse nature of writing. Whether you’re studying engineering, finance, English, or biology, you’ll eventually find yourself working on some type of writing assignment — and we’re here to help!

Do you have a lab report on plant cell mitosis due Monday? Or maybe a synthesis essay on gender roles throughout military history? What about a presentation explaining the financial activities of Procter and Gamble?

Regardless of your major or the assignment, writing can be a scary, complex, overwhelming process. Before you know it, it’s the day before the assignment is due, and all you’ve written is the title. But don’t worry — we’ve got you covered!

Here are some guidelines to help you through the most important stage of the writing process: planning.

Get Passionate

For a lot of us, we sit through classes daydreaming, or thinking about next weekend’s plans. In other words, we’re bored. So, when your professor assigns a writing assignment on a topic that is less than exciting, it’s easy to push it aside for more entertaining endeavors.

Suppose your professor asks you to write an essay exploring the origin of socks and their role in society. Sure, this topic is not the most stimulating, but there’s more to it than you think! Did you know that ancient Greeks tied animal hide around their ankles to protect their feet? Or that Zhuji in Zhejiang Province, People’s Republic of China, has become known as Sock City because they make approximately 8 billion pairs of socks each year?

Sit down, do some research, and find what is interesting to you. Once you’re intrigued, you’re more likely to put extra effort into your writing assignment!

Get Organized

At this point, it’s time for you to think about how you want to write this particular assignment. Where do you want to insert source material? How will you analyze the facts in order to make a conclusion? What’s your thesis statement?

There are tons of ways to plan your paper. You can make a traditional outline, draw a thinking map, or even try the free-writing method. Do whatever gets your writing juices flowing! During the planning process, you should think about the main idea of each paragraph, the claims you want to make and the evidence that supports those claims, and how all of these components come together to form a clear and concise message.

Get to the Write Place

If you’re still struggling with finding your unique method of planning, visit the Write Place! Brainstorming and collaborating with a peer can be very helpful; you can share your ideas and receive honest feedback. Also, I’ll let you in on a little secret: as consultants, brainstorming sessions are our favorite! We love seeing all of our writers leave a little less stressed, and a lot more confident and prepared to begin their writing assignment!

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