The guideline I observed being truly helpful is changing your attitude towards the assignment you got from your teacher or professor. Stop thinking its boring, don't be lazy and try to find something interesting in the topic you are about to develop. "There are no boring subjects, there are boring people". Don't be one.
If you get to choose your topic independently, you are very lucky, because then it's time to freely express your thoughts on a subject of particular interest to yourself. If you become confused and cannot decide upon a topic, start brainstorming ideas and eventually pick up the most interesting, easily researched or most relevant to the subject you are studying at high school or college.
Try to be creative and innovative. Don't follow the pattern of previously researched papers on the same subject; try to do it differently, in your own way and following your own convictions. Find something that hasn't been covered yet and emphasize this discovery. Avoid reflecting the public opinion or common view; get opposed to it by putting forward your own arguments. That's what your professor would really like about your work.
Another suggestion I have to offer from the personal experience is getting inspired before writing a paper. Have you ever tried to do something without inspiration? Did it turn out to be good? Well, the same implies to writing an essay. There are different ways to get inspired. One way is to stay home alone on a rainy day, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and get in the mood of writing your thoughts on a subject of your essay. Another way is to do a good research, find some interesting facts and write down quick thoughts about these facts. Lately you'll get to the point of organizing these thoughts into a formal essay, but they will be a valuable source for your further work. Whatever works best for you, get inspired before writing your essay, otherwise you'll waste a lot of time and will get nothing valuable. However, do not forget what Thomas Edison once said: "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration".
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