By Ashley Fluellen
“Due in a month!” You awaken from your daydream, realizing the mission you’ve been assigned to complete. It seems simple—you can write an argument in your sleep. You know you’ll need to produce an argument, gather evidence from your sources, consider potential counterarguments, and then you’ll need to set time aside to revise it, potentially bring it to the Writing Center, and polish the final draft. A month is plenty of time to get all that done, and hopefully, assuming you don’t procrastinate, you’ll be able to work in line with a helpful writing timeline, and complete your essay before 3 a.m. the night before it’s due.
Week 1: Brainstorming
This week is easy, you’re really just thinking about your assignment. You should come up with a couple of topics that you feel you would be able to construct a solid argument around. This would be a good time to consult with your teacher and see what they’re looking for. Maybe you want to write an argument about ponies, but they may not think that’s the best option. Pick a good topic.
Week 2: Organize, Outline, Omit!
Now that you have come up with your essay topic, it’s time to get organized. For this week, you’re going to want to compile all the information you’re planning to use, the evidence you want to present, along with your rebuttals to any counterarguments. Use all of this to create a detailed outline. Although this is going to be the most tedious part of writing your essay, it will pay off when you don’t have to work as hard at drafting.
Week 3: Drafting
It’s time to write it all down. Use everything you gathered during week 2 and compile it into an essay. If your outline was as detailed as it should be, this should be the easy part. Just write whatever you feel like, because this is also your week to revise. In other words, after you write your first draft, re-read it and mark it up with as much red ink as you possibly can. Then write it again. Revise it until you think it’s the best essay in the entire world because week 4 is all about polishing it up to give to your teacher.
Week 4: Make it polished
Since you spent week 3 making sure it was perfect in your eyes, week 4 is devoted to making sure it’s perfect in everyone else’s. Before it’s due, have a classmate read over it, or bring it to the Writing Center; getting a fresh opinion is always a smart idea and somebody else might just see that mistake you haven’t noticed this whole time. Then once you know there’s nothing else you could possible do to make it better, print out a fresh copy, slap a staple on it and triumphantly hand it over to your teacher as your whole class applauds your victory!