There is only one thing that can inspire you to write more essays and make them brilliant: a prize! When you’re motivated by a big money prize and a chance to get your piece featured in a popular online magazine, you’re certainly motivated to give your best. However, sometimes your current best isn’t good enough. If you’re willing to boost your chances to win an essay contest, you’ll be interested in the tips we have to offer. In collaboration with the professional writers from EssayOnTime writing service, we tailored a list of steps that will help you earn that prize!
Analyze the rules. Follow them!
Before you get all excited about writing an entry, you need to read the rules. They might be boring, but it takes only 10 minutes for you to go through them. Pay attention to every single detail. When is the submission deadline? Is there an entry fee? Is there a particular theme you should preserve? What’s the required word count?
Write down the important details, so you’ll keep them in mind while working on your entry. When you’re done with the paper, you have to go through the rules once again, so you’ll make sure you’ve met the standards.
Start with brainstorming
So you went through the rules, and now you’re really inspired and you want to start writing right away? There’s no need for such a hurry. A brainstorming session will help you get several ideas and choose the best one for your essay.
You can use bubble.us, Stormboard, MindMeister, or another online brainstorming tool to make this part of the process more productive. Don’t judge your ideas. Take notes for all of them; since that will help you choose the best one.
Start working on the best idea, but be flexible!
Take a good look at the list you’ve created during the brainstorming process. Which idea are you most inspired by? Which idea gives you the most opportunities to locate reliable online resources? Which idea would be most attractive for the readers and the sponsors of the contest? Your final choice should be a balance between these factors.
If you like an idea and you decide to go for it, it doesn’t mean you’ll write the best essay. If you notice that you won’t find enough information or you don’t have that much to say as you’re getting deeper into the process, stay flexible about changing the theme of your paper and starting from scratch.
Conduct a research!
You need to make the essay strong, authoritative, and trustworthy. The only way to achieve such effect is by adding the right dose of references. But, what’s the right dose? If you include too many references, it will look like you didn’t say anything original. If, on the other hand, you don’t provide enough support for your arguments, your paper won’t be trustworthy enough. The key is to include as many resources as needed to prove your point.
Think about the arguments you have in mind. Do they need support with statistical, academic, or research data? Remember: you have to discuss the resources you include; don’t just add them in the paper. If you’re writing a personal essay, then there is no need for too many references. Just serve your opinions, but don’t hold back to add the needed support when you think it’s necessary.
Start with a powerful hook
The first sentence has the power to draw the reader in. Thus, you need to make it intriguing, powerful, funny, or moving. In other words – it has to awaken the emotions and curiosity of your reader.
Against Joie de Vivre by Phillip Lopate has an exemplary opening that makes the reader think: “Over the years I have developed a distaste for the spectacle of joie de vivre, the knack of knowing how to live.”
Set your mind free when working on the first draft
At this point, you need to remember that you’re writing. There is no need to bother with proofreading and editing during the writing process. Set your mind free and write as your thoughts flow. Even if you notice that you’re going beyond the word limit, just continue writing. There will be time for editing later on.
Don’t even think about sending your entry without revising the first draft. At this point, you need to make sure the word count fits into the requirements for the contest. For that purpose, you may need to cut some sections out, or add more content to meet the minimum.
Once you’re done with that part, you need to focus on the flow. Do your arguments flow smoothly throughout the paper? Do you notice any gaps in information? Is the paper repetitive? Does everything sound good when you read the essay out loud? Take your time to bring it to perfection.
Then, you can focus on proofreading. Make sure every single word is spelled correctly, and there is no problem in the sentence structure. Once you’re done with everything, go back to the word count and make sure you’re within the limits.
Read the rules again and submit your entry
There is one big problem with detailed editing: it can last forever. If you notice that you’re reading and rewriting the same sections, but then you go back to the previous version and you edit it all over again, then it’s time to sit back, leave the essay aside, read it one last time, and submit it.
Wait; make sure to read the rules again before you do that! Maybe you got carried away while writing the essay, so you stepped away from the main theme of the contests? Make sure you meet all criteria, and send the paper.
We hope you’ll get that prize. Good luck!