Is writing a good essay hard? Lots of people ask this question, and it can truthfully be something that is difficult to answer. Essay writing involves a lot of different processes and steps, and somebody who is good at one step in the process may not necessarily be good at others. It all depends on how they approach things. Essays are used for a variety of purposes, which can confuse matters even further; they are used to test people’s writing skills, yes, but also to see how much they have learned, and whether or not they are capable of thinking outside the box, and extending their own thoughts to include new information. Certain types of essays also test the ability to come at an argument from both sides of it, to see how people handle the debate.
Read Other People’s Essays
One particular essay writing technique is to read other people’s essays. This can be other students’ essays, or it can be official published essays from the likes of George Orwell or S. Bear Bergman; the point of the matter is to read.
Reading other people’s essays is good because it exposes you to what an essay should look like – people can use different techniques in their work, and you can get a feel for how that works. The different subjects which are discussed can also help you to understand how arguments work, especially when you need to figure out how to use the opposing arguments to your own advantage.
Read as many different authors\writers\essays as you can, because there are a huge number of different types of essay, and if you manage to read a wide-ranging number of authors, then you will stand a good chance of getting to grips with a wide range of essays and essay styles.
Prepare a Structure of your Essay
Good essay writing strategies include knowing what a structure is, and how to apply it. An essay structure is something that contains a list of what you want in your essay, in the rough position that you want it in. It normally contains thesis statements, a rough approximation of what you want your body paragraphs to say, pieces of research and quotations that you want to include or don’t want to forget, and anything else which might strike you as important.
A structure is not something which needs to be followed, and it is not even strictly necessary to the process. It is, however, an extremely useful addition to your techniques for writing an essay, as it will give you a lot of help in envisioning your essay as it is laid out in parts. The structure lets you see how the essay will play out – and since it is not written, but only in structural form, you can easily rearrange the paragraphs to look at other methods of structuring your essay, to see which arrangement might work best.
A structure helps you to see how the essay actually works and fits together. It isn’t enough that the essay should make an argument; that argument should be structured in a coherent manner, to lead people through the argument to a logical conclusion.
Think Like a Reader
When you are writing an essay, make sure to always keep in mind that you need to make an essay which is readable. Try and keep the mindset of a reader at all times when you are writing – maybe step away for a while and then come back, and try and reread a section you have just written, to see how it reads back. The primary purpose of an essay is to inform, and people will not be informed if they cannot read what you have written!
Thinking like a reader will also help you to see whether or not your argument is properly structured. Essays should lead people to a logical conclusion, with every body paragraph having a concluding sentence which leads right into the next paragraph, so that everything flows smoothly from one point to the next.
Talk about your Topic with your Friends
When thinking about how to write a great essay, something which doesn’t come up very often is the importance of talking. You should definitely talk to your friends and family about your topic, as that will help you to get your thoughts straight on the issue. They can act as a sounding board for your ideas, and can also bring up their own ideas or perspectives which you may not have even thought about before.
Talking about something allows you to view it from a different angle, which means that you can bring new life to your essay and argument. It is the same as taking a step back and looking at things from slightly further away. Talking is valuable, as it can serve as a test run for your argument – you can see which arguments work, which don’t, and what people come up with when they want to argue against what you are saying.
Re-read your Essay the Day after you Finish
To get the best results when writing essays, you should take at least a day away from it (or at least a few hours, if a day is too much), and then come back and read it all back to yourself. This will accomplish a number of goals:
- You will have a fresh eye for detail and any mistakes, such as spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and missing words
- You will be able to look at the argument you are making as a whole, and see whether or not it flows smoothly, and makes logical sense. This can also enable you to see whether the topic sentences and concluding sentences of each paragraph work to introduce and conclude each paragraph as well as they should
- You will be able to double-check the essay for the thesis statement, and for having everything in the right place.
Practice, Practice, Practice
They say that practice makes perfect, and maybe sometimes that is true. But what is undeniably true is that practice makes you better at what you do. If you want to get better at writing essays, then you need to write essays. If you want to get better at writing, then just write! Practice is the only way you are going to get better at something, and it is the only way you are going to get better at any of the steps which are involved in writing a proper essay. Practice enables you to go through each step at your own pace, and make sure that you have managed to master it to the best of your ability.