A process essay is basically a step-by-step explanation of how to do something. This obviously involves a wide range of topics and unless your teacher specifies what topic they want you to cover, you’ll have the chance to decide on your own.
A good process essay includes specific, detailed descriptions that are simple to understand and make it easy for the reader to follow. They should be neither too simple nor too complicated and should give just the right amount of details to allow the reader to execute them successfully.
Here are some tips on how to write a great process essay:
Choose Your Topic
Unless your teacher has already chosen the topic, you’ll be left to decide. Obviously, you’ll want to choose something that you understand well and are capable of describing in detail. Don’t choose a subject you’re not familiar with. That will just give you extra work and you run the risk of not being capable of doing a good job.
Explain The Process to a Friend
If it’s something you do with frequency, such as download a song from iTunes or practice a yoga position, certain steps may seem obvious to you. However, you have to remember that you’re explaining this to someone who isn’t familiar with the topic the way you are. The best way to make sure you don’t skip any steps is to explain the process to a friend or parent. If they get confused by your description and aren’t able to execute it based on your instructions, then you’ll be able to spot problem areas easily. On the other hand, if your instructions are too basic and the average person can assume certain information, then you can eliminate some unnecessary explanations. For example, if you want to explain how to download a song from iTunes, you probably don’t need to tell the reader to turn on their computer. The average reader will assume that part.
Once you’ve gotten the basic steps down, you can then add any helpful details. For example, maybe you’ll want to explain how to do Downward Dog pose in yoga. You’ll probably suggest that the reader first clear a space on the floor and lay down a yoga mat or beach towel. After that, you’ll need to take them through the steps. Are they starting from a seated or standing position? Once you get them into the basic pose, what can they do to fine-tune their pose? For example, maybe they can internally rotate their shoulders or press down through the palms of their hands. Those instructions aren’t crucial, but enhance the reader’s experience and understanding of the subject you’re describing.
Write an Outline
Based on how your explanation process went in the last section, write an outline of each step, including the descriptions you’ll need to use to get your reader through to the end. Your outline should include an introduction that lets the reader know what you’ll be explaining. You might want to include a line about why you’re an expert on this subject. Then write your steps. You could use numbers or bullet points to delineate each step. Then write a conclusion that either summarizes the topic or gives an extra tip on how to perform the process.
Use Sequential Words
Once you’ve written the outline, it’s time to write a more polished draft. Make sure to avoid overusing certain words such as “next” and “and then”. Try including a wider variety of words such as “first”, “last”, “after that”, “with that in mind”, “as you…”, “finally”.
Edit Your Essay
Once you’re finished writing the essay, make sure to edit your essay. Read it out loud to yourself to spot any glaring mistakes. Have a friend or parent read it to see if they can identify any mistakes you didn’t catch.
A successful process essay is one that is neither too general, nor too specific and that uses clear and simple instructions to help the reader perform the process you chose to describe.