Although i probably don’t have the most effective or traditional writing strategy, I have one that works for me and has let me turn out some A+ papers.
I usually start out with an outline. I don’t have a specific format I use and tend to just start by getting down on paper what points I’m going to make and what facts to use to support it; as well as how to organize this information and where it will go in my essay. Next I just start writing. I can’t write with distractions. Although I love music and would love to work in my floor’s common room with my friends, i just can’t. Within five minutes I’ll be scrolling through music or have picked up an XBox controller and be playing with my friends.
I use my outline to allow me to feel organized and let me know what i need to do next, which prevents me from feeling scared about what to say or having enough to put down on paper. I usually just let the sentences flow out on their own. Good ideas will come to me followed by better ideas and as i come up with them I go back and change what I’ve done to strengthen the piece. Sometimes I’ll think of a really good way to write the conclusion, and will put that down before I have even started the introduction! Once all the points and paragraphs that I wanted to put in it have been added, i stop.
The next step depends on how much time i have left. If the paper is due the next day, I’ll take a five minute break and then read through it, making revisions; most of them grammatical. If I have time to spare, and the paper is due in say, a week or two, I’ll press save and leave it there. I won’t even look at it for a few days, maybe even a week if I’m lucky. Then a few days before it’s due, I’ll open it back up. Because it’s been a while since I’ve written or even thought about the essay, I’ve largely forgotten what I’ve put down on paper. This lets me read it over with a fresh set of eyes, as if I was reading a peers essay, not my own. I can more clearly see how other people would interpret my sentences, follow my thoughts, and draw conclusions. I then make the petty grammatical corrections that need to be done, and then set about changing the larger aspects of my paper like the structure of it and the interpretations I make so that it will be a better read for the teacher.