Essay Writing Resource Guide

A comprehensive guide for students, teachers and writers


Whether you’re a student who has an essay due within a few days, an aspiring writer who wants to be published or a teacher looking for new ways to inspire students to express themselves through the written word, this guide is for you. We’ve examined countless sources from the Web to discover some of the most helpful resources available related to essay writing. No matter if you just need a few pointers to finish your paper or your interest lies within exploring what the world of essay writing has to offer beyond the basics, be sure to check out the more than 40 individual resources in this guide, including writing tips, practical tools (like a helpful plagiarism checker), teaching resources and much more.

General Essay Writing Resources

Before you dive into the specifics of English grammar, take a moment to review general grammar resources. These comprehensive tools will help you understand what grammar is all about.

English Club: What is Grammar

An article that explains what grammar is, and what it is not, as well as how it can help you master the English language.

English Grammar Guide

A complete guide that provides the rules of the English language; each rule has several examples on the proper and improper usage, categorized by topic.

Daily Grammar – Why is Grammar Important?

An article that explains why grammar is important, and how it can help you succeed in the real world.

Career Advice: Why is Grammar Important in Communication

An article that lists 14 reasons for the importance of grammar in communication; learn why grammar increases accuracy, helps you save face, climb the corporate ladder, etc.

Oxford English Dictionary: Grammar in Early Modern English

A resource that explains the main differences between early, modern and late modern English. Learn how the spelling and usage of nouns, adjectives, pronouns and determinants have changed over time.

Aspects of Grammar Handbook

A 44-page handbook for writing assessment that explains concepts, such as the elements of a sentence; the structure of a sentence; and the structure of a text. This resource helps you learn the difference between a subject, verb and object, correct and incorrect sentences, and much more!

What Are Basic English Grammar Rules?

While there are hundreds of different rules for grammar, this source narrows down the most basic ones. Learn how to properly use parts of speech in order to form correct sentence structures.

Essay Writing Tools

When tasked with writing an essay, it’s nice to have some helpful tools at hand.  From step-by-step planning information to a tool to help writers avoid plagiarism, find everything you need below.

Guide to Writing a Basic Essay

Writing an essay may seem like a challenging task, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn how to follow a few easy steps to format an essay. A clear essay format plus your ideas will equal success.

Plagiarism Checker

Even if you’re sure you didn’t plagiarize someone else’s work, it can still happen. Leave no doubts by using this free tool.

Thesis Generator

Need help figuring out your thesis statement for your essay? Check out this thesis generator that will have you crafting the perfect central idea in no time.

Story Toolz

Make your writing more friendly and useful to readers by using the skill-improving tools on this website. Tools include a readability scale and a cliché buster.

Essay Map

Quickly and easily generate a plan to help you write your next essay with this interactive online organizer.

Graphic Organizers for Writing

Organization is key when planning and writing an essay. Use this link to find helpful graphic organizer templates.

How to Write a Good Paragraph

From Ashford University Writing Center, a step-by-step guide to aid writers in drafting, detailing and refining ideas to craft a good paragraph.

Part of making your writing more interesting is utilizing more vivid vocabulary choices. Use this online resource to find synonyms for words that are worn-out or uninspired.

Hemingway Editor

Use this editor to help you make your writing less dense. Hemingway will highlight things such as unnecessary words or sentences that are too lengthy.

Wilmington University Writing Resources

A plethora of resource links that cover every step of the writing process. Whether you need to know how to brainstorm or write a great conclusion, you can find the right resources here.

Editing and Proofreading Strategies

A printable guide that presents editing and proofreading strategies to help writers develop their skills in these two important areas.

Paper Rater

A free grammar checker that provides writing suggestions. Simply copy and paste your essay into the free checker to receive instant customized results. Paper Rater also checks for plagiarism.

Essay Writing Resources for Teachers

Inspire your students to want to write and teach them how to do it with resources that include audio interviews of famous authors, detailed lesson plans and helpful handouts.

Why I Write

Use this resource as an inspiration for you or your students. Choose from short recordings of various celebrity authors who explain why they write.

The Writing Process Handout

Make the steps of the writing process more concrete with this printable handout that uses images to illustrate each step.

Lesson Plans for Teaching Writing

This link contains 20 writing lessons from the National Council of Teachers of English. Lessons were developed by teachers in the classroom. Helpful inclusions are instructional pointers and reflections from teachers regarding the lessons.

Outta Ray’s Head

Visit this site by Ray Saitz, English teacher, who offers intermediate and secondary writing lessons with tips for evaluation and student handouts.

Writing Topics

Find explanatory, narrative, persuasive, creative and research topics to inspire your students to write. Topics are organized by grade level (1-12) and type of writing to allow you to easily find what you need.

Essay Writing Lesson Plans

From Scholastic, essay-writing lesson plans to help you clearly teach the writing process step by step.

Teaching the Photo Essay

Need something different? Assign a photo essay to your middle or high school students, which will appeal to them and benefit their planning and writing skills.

Writing Superhero Conclusions with Phantom Endings Exercise

You can thank Caroline Trull, English teacher, for this creative and refreshing way to teach high school students how to write a conclusion.

Top Ten Mistakes Students Make When Writing Essays

View the top ten mistakes students commit when writing essays. Examples of each mistake and correctly written examples are included.

Essay Exam Tips

When writing an essay for a test situation, you can’t always engage in a lengthy writing process due to time constraints. Find out how to create a solid essay in a short amount of time with the helpful tips in the following links.

Taking an Essay Exam

This online pamphlet from Indiana University gives helpful pointers about preparing for, taking and proofreading an essay exam.

Tips on Writing the Essay-type Examination

This step-by-step guide on how to write an essay for an exam includes tips, such as using your time wisely and paying attention to directive words.

Writer’s Block: An Essay Test Taker’s Bane

From Emeritus Professor Marilla Svinicki of the University of Texas at Austin, comes this posting that includes methods for overcoming writer’s block during essay exams.

10 Exam Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

While not all of these mistakes apply to the essay exam, many of them do. Click the link to find out which ones can help you improve your essay exam technique.

Essay Writing Podcasts

These podcasts can help build your confidence, inspire you or educate you. While some are specific to essays, a few offer grammar help or general writing advice.

Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

This podcast provides brief, helpful and engaging grammar, style and punctuation tips for better writing.

The Creative Penn

Enjoy author, Joanna Penn’s perspective and advice on everything related to writing. Also, listen in for her interviews with various writing pros.

Writing the Personal Essay

Writer, Sheila Bender has tons of practical experience mentoring people in the creation of personal essays. Learn all the ins and outs of writing a personal essay such as dos and don’ts, obstacles you might confront and overcoming fears.

Start Writing Essays

Build confidence in essay writing via the Start Writing Essays podcast from OpenLearn. Learn how a student uses certain essay writing methods and adapts them for assignments and exams.

How to Write a Kick-Ass Essay with Ann Hood

If you struggle with crafting the perfect essay under 3,000 words, take some time to listen to Ann Hood’s lecture from one of Tinhouse’s Summer Writer’s Workshops. Hood offers 10 helpful steps that will have you creating the essay of your dreams in no time.

This I Believe

The weekly podcast, This I Believe hosts ordinary people and those of celebrity status. Guests are tasked with reading their own essays about their deeply held beliefs.

Student Survival Guide to Writing a Good Essay

This podcast contains five episodes that will take you through the steps of writing a good essay.

Personal Essay Publishing Resources

Find a place to submit your best personal essays for publication and sometimes payment. Get the important details below.

Boston Globe Magazine

The best opportunities for new writers are the Perspective column, which accepts 800-word opinion essays on a current, local news topic or Connections, which calls for a 650-word essay written in the first person on any type of relationship.  

Full Grown People

This site accepts essays between 800 and 4,000 words on the meaning of being an adult. The publication calls for engaging, smart writing that yields a terrific ending.

Literal Latte

Send in unpublished stories or personal essays, up to 10,000 words to this site for consideration.

Good Old Days

If you have the chops to write a personal essay of 600-1000 words that takes place between 1935-1960, try submitting it here. Preference is given to essays that showcase a strong, warm and honest voice with some humor mixed in for good measure.


This site seeks submissions that are true stories that offer hope and inspiration. If accepted, your story may be shared via Guideposts, one of the other magazines or the website.

Creative Nonfiction

According to this publication, at least one essay per issue is written by a previously unpublished writer. Personal essays and memoirs are encouraged.

Chicken Soup for the Soul

This publication is seeking true, inspirational stories from ordinary people who have had extraordinary experiences. Stories are written in first person, 1,200 words or less and should conclude with content that stirs hopeful emotions.