How to Write a Process Essay Step-by-Step

How to Write a Process Essay Step-by-Step

Published by on 2021-07-13 12:02:22

Being a student always means exploring new things. Sometimes you are digging into the chemical reactions of nitrogen and the other day you are working over defining what the teacher wants you to do in a new assignment.

If the latter is just the case for you and you would like to know more about what a process essay is and how you are supposed to write it, you are in the right place. We will clarify this essay type’s definition and give you step-by-step instructions on how to craft a top-scoring one. We’ll also provide you with examples of process essays for better understanding.

Luckily, a process essay is not that complicated in terms of its content and structure. Besides, students enjoy working on the paper because it’s easy and involves explaining stuff they already know and understand.

So, let’s waste no minute and dive into the process of essay explanation.

The Meaning of the Process Essay Explained

Before you embark on writing a process essay, make sure you understand what is supposed to be your final result.

A process essay, also known as a how-to essay, is a piece of written work that explains how things work or how things are done. Thus, there are two types of process essays that slightly differ in the nature of the content:

  • informative essay - gives insights into the process of how something works. For instance, how the gravity works, what starts the motor of the engine, how blood cells travel across your body, etc.;
  • directional essay - gives direct step-by-step instructions on how you are supposed to get things done. For example, how to take a math test with flying colors, how to run a physical experiment at home, etc.

The core objective of the process essay is to guide the reader through the process and show how to perform the task effectively. However, when you get this assignment as a part of your academic work, it’s also a way for a teacher to check how well you understand the subject matter and can explain the procedures in simple language.

Key Peculiarities of the How-to Essay

Every essay has its own constellation of features. The process essay is not an exception. Here are the peculiar characteristics of this paper that make it stand out among other academic works:

  • focus on one process: you definitely do not want to confuse your reader and explain several processes simultaneously;
  • chronological order: explain the steps in the order they are supposed to be performed;
  • understandable language: mind your audience and use the words that would leave no space for misunderstanding;
  • smooth transitions: add transitional words that help make logical bridges between the paragraphs;
  • imperative mood: process essays heavily rely on the imperative mood as it allows issuing instructions more effectively;
  • result in the spotlight: the main objective of this essay is to guide the reader through a certain process that would end with a successful result.

As you know what to look for in your how-to essay, let’s see how to write a process essay step by step.

Step 1: Preparation Is Your Everything

Every good essay starts with wisely arranged preparation. And it doesn’t mean just emptying the space on your computer for another essay file. It involves some serious work that might look tiresome and unnecessary but believe us. If you do not ignore this step and do everything by the book, you’ll see that the writing process would not be that tough and hectic.

1.1. Get to Know Your Reader

When you are writing an essay for one of your courses, you know perfectly that the teacher or professor is the only person who will be reading your paper. In this case, you can go as specific as you want. Use terms, course-related jargon, and do not be afraid to sound too complicated. In fact, that’s what the instructor might even encourage.

But as you are compiling a process essay for your friend or you want to publish it somewhere, consider whom you would like to target with your work. Create an imaginary portrait of your potential reader considering their level of awareness of the problem and general knowledge background. 

If you have complete rookies in your profile, you should think of explaining the process in a simple and understandable way. But in case you would like to provide knowledgeable people with additional instruments, you might use a more advanced language.

1.2. Get to Know the Subject Better

As you are going to explain certain processes in your essay, you have to become well-versed in the subject matter on your own first. If you believe that you have not enough knowledge on the topic, there are some gaps, or you do not completely understand the process, spend extra time figuring out how to put all the pieces together.

Sometimes you do not know that you have some knowledge gaps before you actually try to explain things. So, you can check yourself by describing the process to your friends or parents. Ask them if you were clear and if all the steps were logically arranged.

1.3. Detail the Outline

You are very close to the writing stage of essay creation. But before you take on the writing process, budget some time into creating a detailed outline of your paper.

Think of all the structural elements and what each of them will include. You can create a 1,2,3-format scheme or make use of more advanced organizational methods like a mind map.

2. Now You Are Ready to Write

So, it’s time to share your wisdom and put it down on paper. But how to start a process paper and properly structure it? Stick with us, and you’ll get to know it in a minute.

2.1. Introduction

Just remember this once and for all. An introduction is a place where you’ve got to put every effort to grab the reader’s attention. Your teacher will read the essay, no matter what. But you are more likely to get a higher grade if your paper looks awesome.

So, start with an engaging anecdote or a few bright sentences that show why the subject matter is important. Use simple, vibrant, and colorful language. You can use broken sentences intentionally to make your introduction more digestible.

Keep the introduction short. Usually, 3-7 sentences are enough to announce the topic and prove that it’s relevant for the audience.

If you don’t mind, we’ll be providing you with the procedural essay example at every stage so you could have a better understanding of what we are driving at.

We will be using one topic throughout the whole article. And this topic is entitled ‘How to make money as a student.’


Your parents might be giving you some pocket money, but that allowance doesn’t meet your needs. Or maybe you have to think of getting some cash on your own without any help from the parents’ side. No matter what, you won’t mind having some extra bucks in your pocket. So, how can you get a job without any education? Let’s figure it out.

So, the main goal of the introduction section is to announce the subject and prove that the reader will benefit from the information you are going to share.

2.2. Body

This is going to be the largest and most informative part of your paper. It can be constructed of 2 or more paragraphs, depending on the complexity of the process you are going to explain. 

How to write a process paragraph? That’s not that complicated as you already have an outline. 

Devote the first paragraph to showing the general picture of the process. Announce the expected timeframe for completing all actions. Or break the whole process down into smaller steps and give some hints about them.


As a student, you have two options when it comes to making money. Firstly, you can become a freelancer and implement some of your skills in the online world. Secondly, you might be interested in finding a part-time job locally that would allow you to work during non-school hours.

The second paragraph will detail the first step of the process. You can use a list if the step requires sequential actions or resort to descriptive language.

In our case, we will show how a student can find a gig online. We will provide detailed instructions so that a young person knows what it will take to become a freelancer.


Online professions are booming these days, so there is always a spot for young talent out there. At first, you’ve got to decide what niche you would like to take. There are copywriters, designers, social media managers, blogger assistants, and whatnot. Analyze your skills and think about what job will allow you to use them to the full. Then, you will probably need to create a portfolio if you are going for a creative job. Create some samples that would showcase your talents and bring them in one place. After this, go to freelance platforms and create accounts to find your first clients. You can also announce on social media and tell your friends that you are open to new job offers now.

The third paragraph will include an explanation of the second step. The recommendations are the same as for the second paragraph.

In our example, we will delve into the second job option and show the ways of gaining it.


If you feel that online professions are not your cup of tea, you can always find a part-time job near you. Look through the job search websites and consider the offers that involve physical presence at the workplace and flexible working hours. Send your resume to the ads you think are suitable for you. If none of the options meets your criteria, you can go to the establishments and ask the hiring managers directly if there are any open positions.

You can use as many paragraphs as you need, but mind that the body shouldn’t be too long.

This is a general outline of the body paragraphs, but you can change the content of each of them depending on the situation and the topic of your work

2.3. Conclusion

You must be proud of yourself because the toughest part of the work is done. But there is one more section that will require your writing effort.

The conclusion is as important as any other part of your paper, so grab yourself together and make the final leap. This essay element can include a great variety of information depending on the subject, for example:

  • what the final result is supposed to look like;
  • why your instructions are priceless;
  • are there any other ways to do the same thing;
  • why you believe the reader should follow your recommendations;
  • how the reader can use the final product.


You can pave your way in freelance and have a solid ground for the future development of your career as you graduate. Or take on the part-time gig as a temporary measure for gaining some extra money. No matter what you choose, you will end up having what you craved - an additional income that would enable you to pursue your dreams.