Fail-Safe Techniques For Students Who've Just Begun Writing Essays

It can be safely said that just about everybody at one point in their lives has started a piece of written work and got half way through, read what they have already written and just wondered where they were going with the work. It can happen to the most experienced writers. The important thing is to realise that you have veered from your original plan and that you need to make changes.

What to do

Stop writing as soon as you realise that there is a problem. Don't continue writing with the hope that you can just revert back to the original plan at some point in the next few sentences. This wastes time and it wastes your word count.

Read your work from the beginning, preferably read it aloud to yourself. If you can target the point where you deviated from your original plan you can then go back to that point and start your re-write from there. You may need to go back to your original plan and make some changes.


When planning any new piece of writing, a useful tip is to use a project or planning diary. This is the place that you use to jot down any ideas that you have about your essay. You can then use these notes to balance your ideas whilst you are writing. If you don't write down your original thoughts about the progression of ideas you will forget why one idea is linked to another.

While you are writing take the time to read through you work at regular intervals. This is important as it is very easy to go off track. If you compare the written word to the spoken word, when we write we try to stay on track and give a logical progression of ideas but when we talk it is so easy to deviate slightly with an analogy then go back to the original train of thought.

If you are not sure about where or how you got off track you could always ask your tutor to read through your work and offer their suggestions. It may be that when you got the ‘where was I going with this ' thought that you were actually pointing out a valid and original reason.

When get to the point 'where was I going with this', it may actually be the stage were you need to take a break. Walk away from your writing and go back to it after going for a walk or having a coffee with a friend. This may not be the most technical of strategies but it may be all you need to do.