When you are putting together a paper, it can go one of two different ways. You can either stay on topic and move from one point to another in a very easy to understand manner, or you can lose the point of your topic part way through the paper and leave most people confused by the time the conclusion at the bottom of the final page is reached. It’s very important to make sure your paper ends up like the first of the two, and that is easy to accomplish as long as you remain organized while writing.

The Benefits of an Organized Approach

  • You will know what information to research.
  • You can keep your reader’s interest better.
  • The bibliography will be easier to build.
  • The paper will take less time to write.
  • The paper will be more enjoyable to write.

The Initial Research Phase

Before you can really even plan out your paper you have to know exactly what you are going to write about. This means that you have to do some initial research on the topic that you are planning to write about. Read over as much information that you have to, in order to get a good picture of your overall topic. Make sure that you are taking detailed notes on the information that you are reading about so that you can avoid going back over the same references more times than you have to, this will also serve to speed the writing process along.


Although outlining your paper seems like additional work, it is actually a shortcut to writing a high-quality paper in less time than you normally would. An outline should be put together after your initial round of research. Start the outline by deciding on the main theme of the paper, or the main idea that you want to present to your reader. From there you can break that idea down into different topics that all support your idea.

For instance, if you are writing about how eating five servings of fruit a day can reduce your cholesterol you could write a section about the main vitamins that you find in fruits and why they are useful. You could break that section down even further to cover specific vitamins and which fruits they come from the most.

Another section could be used to cover how other compounds in fruit help with reducing cholesterol, and you could even dedicate a section on the topic of how an increased intake of fruit and vegetables reduces the intake of unhealthy food choices.

Even though this topic may not be supportable, you get the idea of how an essay should be split apart using the different sections of the outline.

First Draft

After the outline is complete, it is time to compose the first draft. During this period you should rush through your essay and get all of your thoughts out into the open. Make sure you include any reference information so that you don’t get stuck searching for the source of information later on, but other than that don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or anything else that has to do with the polish of your article. The sooner you get all the ideas out onto the page, the sooner you can begin molding them into a finished product that you will be proud of.

Second Draft

You are probably still shocked by how quickly that first draft went by. You could put together a whole essay worth of information in just a couple hours for short essays, or a few days for the longer essays. Now it is time to go back through and make sure that all of your information is presented in a clear, and concise way. Try to cut out anything that isn’t needed, and read your information aloud to try and avoid any awkward sentences.


Before you finish your essay you should allow a few people to read it and tell you what they think about it. This criticism will help you spot any possible issues with your writing that you can correct before finally finishing with the writing.

This multi-step process of putting together an essay isn’t anything new, but many people simply neglect to write their essay this way because they think it is more work. In all actuality, this is one of the quickest ways to building a quality essay that is going to stay on topic. By trying to cram all of these steps into one single walkthrough of your essay, you are going to have a hard time staying on task, and you will become frustrated.

Steven Grella is the owner of WorksCited4U.com, a site that allows you to take the guesswork out of creating your MLA bibliography for your research papers and projects.