Write an Essay Fast: Tools and Tricks I’ve Developed over 5 Years

Write an essay fast

When writing an essay, the time and quality seem to be in the reverse ratio; eliminating one increases the other. Is it possible to write an essay in under 30 minutes? Creating a decent quality text takes a solid amount of your time, but you would not want to spend a lifetime on writing only one paper when there are five to seven similar ones waiting. This article will not promise that you will “write the best essay in under 30 minutes”; it’s not a clickbait that we’re all pursuing here. However, here you will find valid essay writing tips and general ways to improve your time management and help you write an essay fast: not in several days, but in several hours. 

Outlining and Time 

The main problems even professional writers usually face a lot are perfectionism and the fear of the blank page. This is a naughty feeling when you want to write a good essay and thus fight with your head over every single word. In general, there are two effective approaches on how to write an essay. The first involves creating an outline and then filling in the content; the second is writing straight away. Essay writing speed generally depends on the number of pages and sources, the academic year, and the area of the research paper. However, when writing, these all are tactics, but we should focus on formulating a strategy instead. 

From personal experience, the first one is much more beneficial, as it only requires one set of writing skills at a time. Sure, it takes time to design different stages of the writing process, but it helps you focus on the writing, especially on the body of your essay. Outlining is like tricking your mind into doing easy manual labor instead of complex cognitive tasks. Otherwise, you have to work simultaneously on the sentence and body paragraph structure, the lexical choice, AND the topic of your writing. So, the first very basic five-minute step in writing your essay is dividing the process into single-tasking chunks. 

Outlining is like tricking your mind into doing easy manual labor instead of complex cognitive tasks.

This method reduces the feeling of panic over not making everything perfect the first time, simplifies the process for your mental resources, and enhances the quality of the structure, coherence, and word choice. Okay, it’s time to get a particular example.

How to write a clean, coherent paper fast? 

Outlining consists of the following step-by-step process: 

  • Define the word count
  • Write a short outline
  • Look for sources or read the ones your professor has provided
  • Extract and prepare citations
  • Move to writing the text paragraph-by-paragraph
  • Edit

Let’s say you have to write an essay on the mental health issues of adolescents. The professor said it should be approximately two pages long, which is about 550 words. Now, it’s time for a little math lesson. Academic writing demands introduction and conclusion paragraphs that comprise at most 20% of the whole word count. 550 multiplied by 20 and divided by 100 equals 110 words used for the intro and conclusion altogether, or about 55 words each. All the other paragraphs should then fit into 400 words, so you could let it be three paragraphs of about 130 words each. Congratulations, you just saved time editing the final text and learned how to write a paragraph that’s even and clean! 

Gif from Nounish on Giphy

How to cover multiple issues without multitasking

Now, you also saved time by specifying your thesis statement in the introduction paragraph and topic sentences for the body paragraphs. These are already two processes that help to write an essay fast with one simple technique. Now, to get a strong thesis, you should include about three key ideas, each of which will become one topic sentence (the first one in each of the main body paragraphs). 

Outlining helps to reduce time spent on developing the thesis, writing the topic sentences, and editing the final document. 

The very first basic outline, then, may be as simple as this one: 

Essay outline

With the ready structure in mind, you may now easily have a thesis statement and three sentences for each body paragraph. For example, you can consider the options like these:

Thesis statement: The mental health of adolescents is an essential topic, as it is one of the leading health issues of this age group, caused by several factors and requiring urgent means. 

First topic sentence: Mental health becomes increasingly trending on the TikTok platform, demonstrating the validity of the problem.

Using Tools Online to Save Your Time

Okay, all is clear with the one solid method I’ve proposed. But that is not the only solution to your issue. In the example above, there was an in-text citation and a reference prepared in the APA style. To do the same, use the Bibliography generator or Citation Machine. Also, you have probably already used the resources for searching academic articles, such as Google Scholar or Elicit.

However, if you are assigned a few sizeable 50-page readings for a paper, the problem is that you physically cannot perform even a fast reading on multiple sources quickly. An essay in some broad research area will probably take more resources and pages to cope with. Of course, you will still have to read for class excellence, but for faster writing, you can use MindGrasp. This service provides a short synopsis or nuanced notes from the uploaded PDF file. Essentially, in this decade, there is an AI or app for almost every manual process, except for the ones requiring genuine human creativity. So be creative in the skill of writing the essay, and be smart about using tools and methods for everything else. 

Artificial Intelligence

Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

If you want to write an extensive, comprehensive thesis, there is a good topic generator for this aim. The Thesis Statement Generator forms theses on any topic on your request, given any topic, and provides specific questions to make the paper more persuasive. If you’re struggling to move through a particular part, do not write linearly. Let’s say that you have four paragraphs and a short outline or the thesis sentence for each; you can start with the third one and then move on in the order that feels easier on you. 

Essentially, in this decade, there is an AI or app for almost every manual process, except for the ones requiring genuine human creativity. So be creative, and be smart about using tools and methods for everything else.

Some more general advice a pro writer can give you to create a time management system is to consider what language feels more natural in the essay you are writing and whether you like writing by hand or typing. Students who do not speak the English language as a native may be willing to try writing an outline in their native language. However, as a writer who has seen such attempts, I strongly do not recommend trying to write the whole essay in your native language and then translating. The style will be unnatural, and such a technique will not improve your writing skills. 

Another small tip is to think about your personal preferences in terms of writing by hand or doing digital work. There was an interesting post by Wang Shu Huang about writing by hand or a PC typing with some study tips about taking notes in class by hand. Try to write an outline by hand and fill out the text using a keyboard; the first method is for creativity, and the second is the most suitable for typical processes. If you want to write the body part of your essay fast, you are going to need to use both of these. 

Solely Managemental Tips and a Few More Tools

The rule all writers learn the hard way is that a task takes the entirety of the time you allocate for it. If you want to create something fast, the last thing to do is miss a clear time boundary for the task. I’ve faced the problem that if I have two days before the deadline and not many other urgent things to do, I would write the essay fast, more or less, and edit the text for the whole two days. Cool for the quality, but not cool for work-life balance. So, if you want to do it in the right way while writing an essay, make sure to allocate a particular time for writing and call it a day.

The long-term advice is to create a separate file to track mistakes. If each editing session takes about an hour or two of your time, then decreasing the number of mistakes in a semester will save you about one to two whole days and improve your grades a lot!

Also, editing the final results is an entirely separate part of writing an essay. In a more sophisticated and probably ethical way, the long-term advice is to create a separate file to track your mistakes. If each editing session takes about an hour or two, then decreasing the number of mistakes in a semester will save you about one to two whole days in total. For a little bit of a simpler way (but still, the advice about learning from mistakes is still relevant), there are, of course, options like Grammarly, Plagiarism Checker, Hemingway, and Repetition Detector.

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The Expense of Time for a Newbie and a Pro Essay Writer 

The speed of your writing depends on the expertise and experience of the writer. The answer to how to write an essay faster is to write more. The time needed for one essay also depends on the number of pages, how nuanced and niched the essay topics are, and the number of required sources. For example, two pages of decent quality with two sources to cite will probably take as much time for a newbie as four to five pages with two to five sources will for an experienced writer.

Let’s divide the work into the visible processes and count how long does it take to prepare, write an essay, and edit it. The imaginary task will be to perform profound research on the ecological consequences of plastic waste on oceans and coasts and write a five-page essay on it. The professor asks you to add no less than ten sources

Task Beginner Advanced Writer
Define what sources are reliable and find all 10 of them One hour 20 to 25 minutes
Perform fast reading and extract citations from one 10-page document About an hour About half an hour
Create a list of sources About 10 minutes

(with the resources above)

About 10 minutes

(with the resources above)

Write an outline (for one page, or about two to three paragraphs) 20 minutes 10 minutes
Expand the outline to a complete text (one page) 40 minutes to an hour 20 minutes to half an hour
Edit one page About 10 minutes with Grammarly, half an hour if content adjustments are needed About 10 minutes with Grammarly, and 10 minutes if  content adjustments are needed

While reading these charts, you may deeply disagree with my judgments of time use for a beginner writer. If that is true, here are some of my explanations for why I insist on these numbers. For instance, extracting appropriate citations from a document in under 30 minutes does not seem to be a problem, right? Indeed, it is not. Some random essay with a one-page opinion description will not add much to your schedule. 

However, the profound problem with writing fast is finding citations that present the major idea of the paper, are scientifically valid, and will match later with the other citations you extract. You should not adjust the citations to your opinion, right? The exploration should go first and composition second. Moreover, an essay of about 1000 words instead of 500 will require more creative thoughts to fill the volume. 

The profound problem with writing fast is finding the citations that present the major idea of the paper, are scientifically valid, and will match later with the other citations you extract.

When doing a research paper or preparing a research source for an essay, you will frustratingly often find that each article you find tends to provide you with diverse results on the topic. Or, at the very least, you will probably struggle to get ten recent free-to-access sources with approximately close topics even within one area. 

For instance, to write 1000 words for your papers on management, leadership, or general social science is not quite a challenge, there will be no problem with almost any particular topic you like. However, if you write anything on medicine, anthropology, history, or any technical subject, then the time for decent research could be automatically multiplied by two. 

The Final Takeaways to Remember After Reading This Article

  • Take your time. Writing an essay becomes faster with experience, the wise division of processes, the exploitation of writing tools, efficiency in language, and the development of writing ecosystems. 
  • Forever young and forever learning. The beginner writer may not know what a decent quality essay means and what the criteria are, so you can read more and train more, and the speed of your writing will progress along with the quality of your papers.
  • Work smart, not hard. The main tools to help you quicken your writing processes are Bibliography Generator, Grammarly, MindGrasp, Thesis Statement Generator, HyperWrite, and Repetition Detector. You need an outline. Let your brain be a creative, well-coordinated machine rather than a squirrel chaotically spinning on a wheel while being bombarded by all the tasks simultaneously. 
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Nicolas Evans
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Nicholas works in the ESL Department of CustomWritings.com. He’s much adored by students in a private middle school, where he teaches English literature. Amateur actor and great guitar player, Nicholas knows how to enjoy the arts.