Writing essays for school, college, and university can be daunting. In many ways the genre of the essay is slightly out dated in our world of blogs, texts, tweets, insta posts, and microblogging. Because we are less and less familiar with writing essays these days, they are often something we only do in the context of school. As a result, writing essays feels a bit weird. Add to that the fact that most teachers and professors out there may have first learned how to write essays either by hand or on old word processing software, whereas students these days have often learned not to write or type, but to text with their thumbs! So the technology is moving in one direction, but schools, colleges, universities, and testing boards still expect students to display mastery over essays - be they short exam essays or long graduate theses - and so if you have an essay to write, what should you do first?