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So you and I both know that essays can be a major pain. They should be easy, right? But for some reason, we just always have a hard time with them.

Well, here's my suggested method for writing an essay with half the stress:

First, look at the prompt and break it down. Make an outline; any kind of outline will do. You can even just write down your main points on a post-it if you'd like.

Skip the intro paragraph. Why? Well, how are you going to introduce an essay that doesn't exist yet? Just jump into your body paragraphs.

Conclusion: the conclusion paragraph basically sums up everything that you talked about, hold up your arguments one last time to make it officially clear to the reader as to what the essay was about.

Now that all that's done, you'll be able to write an intro paragraph in no time. You'll notice how much easier it is to introduce the essay AFTER you've written it instead of before.

THESIS: My least favorite part, or at least it was ;) Remember that outline? Get it back out. Make a neat sentence that covers all of your major points and slap it on the end of your intro.

EXTRA STUFF:

1. Depending on the essay, you may need to start it off with a hook to get your audience engaged. This can be a quote, an analogy, a flashback; get creative!

2. Quotes in your paper can be a great way to add some spice into it. Always make sure your audience knows who you are quoting, and make sure that the quotes actually make sense with the context!

3. For research papers, never forget to site your sources properly. Ever! You can look up various forms of MLA citations for different media.These go in a bibliography at the end of the report.

4. Keep a dictionary and a thesaurus nearby. I know those things are ancient, but they really do help.

And, hey. Remember that you're putting your name on this, so make it something you're proud of!

CONGRATULATIONS! You have successfully completed your first draft. Go get yourself a milkshake or something; you deserve it!

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