Writing a killer essay is one of the skills that we all need to have in our arsenal. It’s one of the most dreaded take-home activities for students, for both high school and college. Writing an essay isn’t the be-all and end-all of things, but when you learn the skill of creating one, and easily at that, it becomes an edge, something that you have over the rest of the pack.
But how do you write an excellent essay for every topic? Each essay is unique on its own, and mind you, general techniques in formulating one might be effective on one subject but will be flawed on the next. Writers know that there is no perfect essay, there are only perfect set-ups in fleshing out the best content.
One of the most flawed beliefs out there is the thinking that “Only the ones with innate talent can write”. This is wrong. Anybody can write, just like anybody can learn any musical instrument if they’re dedicated enough in pursuing it. One of the reasons why writing is deemed difficult is because a majority of people can’t hone on their thoughts properly to express what they want to.
Truth is, even established writers have a hard time creating an essay. Screenwriters, journalists, and content writers follow a basic set of rules and outlines in their respective fields, most but not all are applicable to writing one. But the tone and voice and the intent in an essay will be different, and that’s where the dissonance shines through.
So, whether you’re a college or high school student searching the web high and low on how to elongate or even start your essay, or you’re a company man needing to make your piece more purposeful, here are some quick pointers to set you up for success:
Create an outline
The importance of an outline cannot be understated. This is especially true when you are writing an essay that’s due the next day. Setting an outline of what you want to write, how you want to write it, and fleshing out the angle of your essay is imperative not only in making sure you have a grade-A paper, it’s a fundamental step for you to know where to head next.
An outline should include the following: your main topic, what it is, what are your thoughts about it, how can you improve upon it, and a conclusion. This is just a skeleton framework, and if you have a word count to reach, you’ll need to expand on some areas within the topic to strengthen your paper’s resolve.
Research. Research. Research.
You can’t write what you don’t know, so read. Read up on your main topic, the topics that surround it, and the effects that it has on the greater scheme of things. You can’t flesh out something without ensuring that you have the right knowledge on it. You need to understand what you are writing, lest your essay will be boring.
When you have a time-constraint, the best way to do research picks out relevant sources and hone in on an angle. Say, you’re writing about sustainable development, one relevant topic you can talk about is how sustainable development can sometimes be un-inclusive. Write heavily on that until you exhaust everything from a standpoint.
Make your own point.
Developing your thesis statement is one of the best ways to make sure that your essay is effective. An essay that doesn’t have a point of view, or skirts around the topic without addressing the main culprit will be graded lowly. Make your own point. Have a view. It may be conservative or controversial, but it will have an impact.
Why? Because it stands up to something. Support your own point with relevant statements and facts. This will make your argument robust. Don’t forget to examine the weaknesses of your opinion as well so that you can address them.
Writing a killer essay can be complicated. Let’s get it out there. But breaking it down to small steps and taking one step at a time makes it more bearable. Remember to review your essay before turning it in. Rereading it once or twice out loud lends itself to being evaluated, so you can make the necessary adjustments.