Essay writing help: organizing notes


How to write well? Start by prewriting well

The first step to writing a strong paper is engaging in thorough prewriting. Prewriting involves brainstorming your essay topic, gathering relevant information and research, organizing your data in a logical manner, and outlining your essay so your ideas and information flow logically and coherently. If you do not preplan your essay, you will get lost in the writing process. Your resulting paper will be difficult to follow and comprehend, and will be less effective at persuading or instructing the reader than it might otherwise have been.

But how does one prewrite well? It’s more complicated than just following the steps outlined above. Organizing your notes and research is a meticulous task, and must be done correctly if the essay is to be a success. Here are some tips for keeping your research, brainstorming, and outlining notes well organized as you plan out your paper.


Break the topic up into smaller elements

Your essay will be comprised of multiple smaller paragraphs. Those paragraphs themselves may be clustered into several subsections or headers. Similarly, your research and main points should be organized and clustered. Do not overwhelm the reader or yourself by attempting to tackle every aspect of your topic all at once. Instead, zero in on a few essential components. Give each component its time to shine.

One great way to accomplish this is by brainstorming through the use of a web or flow chart. Write your central topic in the center of a large, blank piece of paper. In the surrounding area, write down everything that comes to mind about the topic. This can include random facts, abstract concepts, current events, traits, personal opinions, and related factors.

Use line drawings to show how these elements are interconnected. Look at the factors with the most interconnections and the most immediate relevance to your topic. These are your main points. Each one should receive a great deal of attention in your paper, and should have its own section.


Research in clusters

Once you have defined the main factors or subsections of your paper, you can begin to form a rough, preliminary outline of how the paper will look. You can also use this structure to guide yourself in the research process. Focusing on locating an equal amount of information on each one of your subtopics. Give each subtopic its own column on a large white board, or a set of pages in a notebook. When each section is filled with research, you are ready to write.