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How to Become an Essay Writing Guru Using These 15 Websites

How to Become an Essay Writing Guru Using These 15 Websites

It doesn’t matter whether you’re the most ambitious student in class or you simply want to get the degree and pass your classes as quickly as possible– you’ll have to improve your essay writing skills whether you like it or not.

The starting point is a shift in your attitude. You shouldn’t perceive essays as burdening assignments on boring topics. This type of project gives you a chance to explore, elevate your knowledge, think creatively, and present unique ideas. Once you realize how important it is for you to boost your writing skills, you’ll easily achieve that goal thanks to these 15 websites that can turn you into an essay writing guru.

1. AskPetersen

Julie Petersen, an English language teacher and freelance writer, has created a great website to support all students willing to learn how to write. You’ll find study guides, essay samples, educational articles, and helpful tools that will enable you to approach the assignment with ease.

In the blog section, you’ll find instructions on how to cover each stage of the writing process, as well as inspirational articles that will make you excited about writing something of your own.

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2. Harvard College Writing Center – Strategies for Essay Writing

You cannot develop great writing skills if you lack a solid foundation to build on. It’s always best to start from the basics. Harvard College Writing Center offers detailed instructions for proper academic writing. You’ll start by learning how to read an assignment, how to develop the essay’s structure, and how to cover all other stages of the process.

3. Essay Map

An academic essay requires diligent planning. An outline is necessary, since it keeps you focused on the essay question and enables you to develop strong thesis and arguments.

Essay Map is a free online tool that requires you to input the main details about the introduction, main ideas, supporting details, and conclusion of your paper. Then, you’ll get an appealing outline that will encourage you to follow the plan.

4. A Step-by-Step Guide: “How to Write My Essay Due Tomorrow

Essay writing can be really stressful when you’re limited by a looming deadline. You don’t have enough space to cover all stages properly, so you need to work faster and more effectively. EssayMama provides effective guidelines that will put you on the right track. If you follow the recommended steps, you’ll be able to complete a decent paper within few hours.

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5. Guide to Writing a Basic Essay

Before you can progress to more complex academic assignments, you need to become a master of the basic essay structure. At this website, you’ll find a sample essay that demonstrates all principles of basic academic writing. Instead of reading rules and recommendations, you see an actual paper tailored in accordance with the standards you need to meet.

6. College Essay Guy

Ethan Sawyer, better known as the College Essay Guy, helps students tell their stories. He remembers his college experience vividly, so he is willing to share his tips and experience in order to teach students how to write properly. You’ll find great sample essays, articles, and tutorials in the Blog section. Sawyer also offers a “Complete Guide to Writing the Personal Statement”, so you can rely on that resource when completing college or scholarship applications.

7. Persuasive Essay Thesis Builder

Take a moment to think: what stage of the essay development process is the most challenging one? It’s probably the thesis statement, which should be unique, believable, and authoritative. This statement will set the course of the entire paper. The Thesis Builder tool enables you to tailor a strong thesis statement, which you can then develop into a clean outline. The tool is automated, but the result will be based upon your own input.

8. University of Toronto: Some General Advice on Academic Essay-Writing

College and university teachers are not usually willing to explain how a student should develop an essay stage-by-stage. They just give you the essay question and expect you to complete the paper with excellence. The University of Toronto fills in that gap with a useful guide that teaches you how to come up with an argument, formulate questions and hypothesis, and compose the paper while keeping the overall purpose and form in mind.

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9. EssayPunch

When you need in-depth support on your way towards becoming an essay writing guru, this is the online resource you can count on. You’ll find preset writing prompts that will challenge you to practice more frequently. In addition, the program offers interactive online exercises that help you understand the pre-writing, writing, structuring, editing, and publishing phases.

10. Hemingway Editor

You do not want to complicate your style too much. You might think you would impress your teachers by using big words and writing complex sentences, but that won’t be the case. Hemingway Editor will help you get back to simplicity and clarity. Simply paste your text in the designated field, and try to get rid of the highlighted sections that feature complicated sentences, complex phrases, passive voice, and more.

11. PlagTracker

Plagiarism is a serious sin in academic writing. Even when you do your best to come up with your own ideas and arguments, it’s easy to forget referencing a particular source you used. That’s why you need to run every single essay through PlagTracker before submitting it. Thanks to this free tool, you can be confident that your papers are entirely unique.

12. 18 Simple Essay Hacks Every Student Needs to Know

The highest achievers in your class are able to learn and write more within a shorter period of time. They know how to make the writing process easier by relying on tricks that always work. Thanks to this online resource, you can start doing the same things. The 18 suggested essay hacks cover focusing techniques, research methods, effective typing, editing, and everything in between.

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13. 365 College Essay Writing Tips and Life Hacks

You need a huge collection of tips and tricks to get yourself into writing mode? This is the right online destination for you! You’ll find great tips, tricks and hacks that are easy to understand and implement into practice. Julia Reed, the creator of this list, does not waste your time with abstract explanations about the essay’s type and structure. You’ll get practical tips regarding the proper font, format, persuasive style, and much more.

14. Infographic: What Makes a Strong College Essay

You need to start with the research stage ASAP? Then you don’t want to get tired before you even start going through resources relevant for your paper. That’s why you need to shorten the process and read this guide, which won’t take a lot of your time.

15. Revision Checklist for Essays

The revision stage involves much more than proofreading and fixing basic mistakes. This checklist will guide you through all steps you need to cover in order to make your essay ready for submission.

Remember: you have to do your best to surpass all obstacles you face during the essay writing process. You can always rely on appropriate online resources to help you get the work done!

Featured photo credit: Green Chameleon via stocksnap.io

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Jessica Millis

An experienced writer, editor and educator who shares about tips on effective learning.

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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