1. Look at the blog entry you’ve chosen for the idea that you can develop into an essay of several paragraphs. It may or may not be the topic most addressed in the blog, but it should be one which forms a considerable part of your blog discussion and which you think you can develop further in essay form.
2. Rewrite the current opening statement or write a new, brief opening paragraph. Keep your opening concise, identify the focus of the essay, and, at the end of the paragraph, make a clear, specifically worded statement of thesis, the interpretive idea whose validity you wish to prove in the essay.
3. Look at the middle paragraphs of your blog entry. Are they too long? Too short? If they don’t already begin with sentences that state ideas rather than facts, add clear topic sentences that relate to your thesis. Check within each of those middle paragraphs for a balance between specific textual evidence, preferably both examples and brief quotations, and your own commentary designed to identify the significance of your evidence and fully develop the depth of each paragraph. Finally, make sure each of these middle paragraphs helps support the validity of your thesis.
4. Check your final paragraph. Make sure it does not simply repeat what you have already stated. Draw a conclusion from the evidence you’ve presented. Save your most important idea, the one everything else in your essay leads up to, for last.
5. Last but certainly not least, read all your sentences out loud for clarity and clutter. Have you expressed your biggest ideas in simple words? Have you taken out who, which, and that whenever possible? Are you varying the length of your sentences, alternating complex and compound sentences with simple ones? Does the punctuation of your sentences help make them clearer and more meaningful? Have you caught the spelling mistakes spellcheck won’t catch?