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How to Organise your Thoughts for Writing an Essay

Published by at November 1st, 2021 , Revised On October 21, 2022

Many people still believe that essay writing is an innate ability and that a few people are born with writing skills. For this reason, people give up on writing before trying or investing some time and energy in it. However, this concept is untrue.

Essay writing is a skill that develops and refines over time with consistent practice,  like any other skill like painting, dancing, coding, and the list goes on. It is also true that you need to be aware of the strategies and tips for essay writing for better practice.

The organisation of thoughts is the preliminary step of essay writing that many writers put the most effort in. A well-thought-out essay is better than an essay written without a strategic road map in mind- or better on paper. Today, we will thoroughly discuss the importance of organising your thoughts and the best possible ways to do so.

Importance of organising your thoughts for writing an essay:

Do you feel you have many things to say but do not know where to start and end? Let’s face it, we all have the same dilemma in our minds when writing an essay.

If you are still left with so many ideas to discuss at the last minute and unable to put them, you have failed to organise your thoughts, which is directly related to managing your essay. A well-planned and well-thought-out essay reflect the quality pre and post-writing techniques of a writer. It guides the reader to engage in the flow of ideas in a hierarchy.

When you have ideas put in order, it is easy for the reader to comprehend, remain captivated, and therefore get impacted. Moreover, It also affects the overall layout of the essay. The organisation of thoughts offers you a strategy to follow to make your essay easy to read and comprehend.

In contrast, by writing an essay without organising your thoughts at the introductory level, you cannot decide if one idea should be followed by the other and vice versa. It creates confusion in your mind that reflects in your essay that the reader can easily catch.

If your essay is overwhelmed with ideas in an improper order, it isn’t very clear and thus neither readable nor comprehensible.

In essence, it is of prime importance to organise your thoughts for writing a quality essay. The well-put ideas create a hierarchy and cohesion that strengthen the overall essay.

Also read: How to shorten an essay

How to organise your thoughts for writing an essay:

If you aim to write a clear and interesting essay, you must pay much importance to its organisation. The process of the organisation begins with planning.

Planning the organisation of your essay:

Before you start penning down your thoughts onto the paper, give yourself some time to plan on how to structure the essay. While planning may look like a very complicated task, it is not. It is simply creating a rough sketch in mind, or better on paper to follow for writing the final essay. Some of the ways of planning are:

  1. Mindmap:

You may have created mindmaps in one of its many shapes. It is a graphical chart with a pivotal idea in the centre and sub-ideas around it that demonstrate the related thoughts. Write the topic of the essay or the focal phrase in the centre and let loose. Write down the relevant ideas that come to your mind; do not inhibit your mind from writing any related idea or thought because it is not the final draft and is open to editing.

Continue adding thoughts to the map until no related thought is left in your mind. Let your brain think whatever it wants, and write it down. Once you write down the ideas, read all of them one by one. Flesh out the ideas you may not want to include and mingle the repeating ideas. Now link each of the ideas to the main idea and decide if you should write a separate paragraph for each idea, assemble multiple ideas into groups and write paragraphs for each group, or so on.

Tidbit:
Keep in mind the formats for writing essays according to their particular type while planning the organisation. For example, you will organise the ideas differently for a cause and effect essay than in an argumentative essay, etc.

Mindmap example:

  1. Freewriting:

Freewriting is another way of letting the thoughts around a topic flow and filtering the best out of it. Freewriting is a writing technique on a subject matter without thinking of the grammatical and other language considerations. The writer writes on the main idea continuously and thus can express every thought that revolved around his head.

The advantage of freewriting is that it help writer produce creative and raw thoughts. Once you are done freewriting, review the draft and point out the main ideas that you would like to include in your essay. It will help you find out the valuable arguments and examples you should use in the essay and omit unnecessary details.

Choose between a mind map and freewriting and move ahead to the next step.

  1. Create an Outline:

Once you have created the mind map, now is the time to make an outline. Based on the selected ideas from the mind map that you will formulate your essay, you will create an outline for structuring your essay. The outline can be created as:

  1. Introduction
  2. First Idea
  • Example 1
  • Example 2
  1. Second Idea
  • Example 1
  • Example 2
  1. Third idea
  • Example 1
  • Example 2
  1. Fourth Idea
  • Example 1
  • Example 2
  1. Conclusion

The outline will provide you with a clear vision for drafting your essay. It contains the subtitles of the main idea and its other list of examples, arguments, or details. Having an outline in hand makes it easier to create a well-organised and structured essay than without an outline.

An outline is a strategy that you have to follow to write your essay. Let’s say, from the example, you will begin with an introduction for the essay, write the second paragraph revolving around the first idea, then write the third paragraph with the second idea, and it will go on till the fourth idea and end with a concluding paragraph.

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Ways of organising your essay:

While it is essential to create an outline of your thoughts for writing an essay, you will not necessarily use a similar outline for all kinds of essays. We all know that there are many types of essays: narrative, descriptive, expository, rhetorical, literary, argumentative, and so on.

All of these types are different from one another and are structured differently. For that reason, it is essential to know about the best possible ways of organising each type of essay.

There are four main ways of organising your essay:

  1. Chronological order:

It is a pattern of sequencing in the order of occurrence in time. Therefore it is also called the time order; It orders events from the first to last. This order is used to explain events, history, or a topic. It is also a suitable order to describe the steps of something and explain how to do or make something. So, chronological order is used to organise your thoughts if:

  • You are describing a series of events
  • Explaining something
  • Listing details
  • Discussing a process

Therefore, this order is used for narrative essays, descriptive essays, process essays, and explanatory essays. For example, when writing an essay about an event, you will use this order to make your outline.

Mind map:

Outline:

  • Introduction
  • First event
  • Second event
  • Third event
  • Fourth event
  • Final event

You can use this order to describe a thing by describing the first feature, the second feature, the third, and so on until the last. The introduction in this order should indicate the order or gist of the information that you will provide in the essay.

  1. Order of importance

The second type of order that you can use to organise your thoughts for writing the essay is the order of importance. Remember the rule Put First Thing First? That is what this order solicits you to do. You can use this order for writing an argumentative essay, persuasive essay, and descriptive essay. In all of the above-mentioned essays, you will create an outline of the ideas starting from the most important detail to the least important detail of the main idea.

For example:

Mind map:

Outline:

  • Introduction
  • Most important aspect
  • A slightly more important aspect
  • Important aspect
  • Less important aspect
  • A slightly less important aspect
  • Least important aspect
  • Conclusion

However, it is not important for this order to range from most important to the least, and it can go the other way around as:

  • Introduction
  • Least important aspect
  • A slightly less important aspect
  • Less important aspect
  • Important aspect
  • A slightly more important aspect
  • Most important aspect
  • Conclusion
  1. Problem-Solution Order:

The problem-solution order is the order of sequencing your ideas in a way that each problem is addressed with its solution. This is an ideal order of organising your thoughts for a cause and effect essay. While using this order, you will mention each cause with its effect/s in each paragraph. For example:

Mind map:

Outline:

  • Introduction
  • Problem 1
  • Problem 2
  • Problem 3
  • Conclusion

The introduction will indicate all the information that you will discuss in your essay. The next paragraph will discuss the problem and its possible solution. It will follow the same pattern for each paragraph until the last problem and end with the conclusion paragraph.

Conclusion:

Organising your thoughts before starting to write an essay is a crucial element that many miss out on. As a result, they are unable to put their thoughts adequately, and they are left with no choice but to assume that essay writing is a highly complex task.

Organising your thoughts through a mind map or free writing, creating an outline, and ascribing the right order for your thoughts is an essential pre-writing task that every writer must do. Organised thoughts lead to an organised essay that makes it more clear and more comprehensible.

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Also read: How long is an essay

About Ellie Cross

I am Content Manager at this prestigious organization who has been assisting students for a long time. I have been part of Essays UK since its inception and have seen all the ups and downs it has faced in all those years. I manage a growing team of great writers and content marketers who are contributing to a great extent to help students with their academics.

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