For most of us, essay writing is as painful as pulling off our fingernails…with an ice pick…while dancing a jig. However, it does not have to be. Yes, your professor (unsuccessfully) already tried everything. Give this foolproof method a try, you (and your cat) won’t be disappointed.
1. Be Spontaneous!
Often we are our worst critics, which means that there is one important element missing from our writing. Pick up your favorite piece of writing and it is highly likely you will find it in there. Spontaneity is one difficult thing to fake. When writing your first draft, dial the settings of your internal essay editor to mute. If you stop to cringe at every mistake you make, you’ll never be spontaneous. The mark of a good piece of writing is that it flows smoothly. Revisit for nitpicking but for now, just let the spirit move you!
2. Act On It!
A general design that will work for most essays goes something like this:
- State your topic – be gentle and take your time to introduce it.
- Support it – now trot out facts and pieces of evidence in support of your topic.
- Rinse, Lather, Repeat – do #2 again.
- Get up close and personal – now give your personal opinion regarding the topic at hand.
- End It – summarize the first four steps to form a conclusion.
This isn’t the design, it is a design. If it does not fit your essay, remodel until it does. If it does, why fix something that isn’t broken?
Don’t Drag It Out!
So the boy elf decided that he’d go join the war against the exceptionally evil warlock and once he had him under his control, he was going to end him and then he’d have pie…lots and lots of pie.
Wait, who was going to get pie? The exceptionally evil warlock? Didn’t the elf want to kill him? Wasn’t he already dead? This is what a really long sentence does to the reader. Any reader, be it your teacher or your cat (more on that later), will be jarred by an extremely long sentence. Avoid long sentences like you would avoid the plague. They are the bane of smooth pieces of writing that take you along for the ride.
Read Up On It!
Read what you like because it is highly probable that is what you will love writing about. Pick up a book or an article by your favorite writer and re-read it, noticing how they write. Pay attention to sentence structure and the verbosity (the lack of it) and then model your writing after it. Reading various sources will also aid you in forming your arguments while addressing that topic in an essay.
To Err Is To Be Human With Lower Grades!
Now comes the hard part. Editing puts the fear of god in world famous best-selling authors. They would rather do anything than revisit their work and dissect it like they dissected frogs in the Biology lab. Even so, they do it. So man up (or woman up) and read your work with a critical eye. Once you are done with the second draft, give it a read-over to ensure no mistakes have escaped your eagle eyes. Done? Good, I will admit I had my doubts. Moving on!
Let Me Hear You Say It!
Yes, editing your work is important, yet when you continue to read the same piece of text for the umpteenth time, you’re bound to miss out on some errors. How do you rectify these seemingly invisible mistakes marring the perfection of your masterpiece? Simple, you let the computer (or your pet cat) read it back to you. The change in activity and tone — your cat is not going to mimic your inflection, would it? — will help you grasp some of the errors you would have missed otherwise.
Participate in challenges, like the NaNoWriMo. Not only will you get better at writing, regular practice will help you fall in love with the art that is writing. Do not let your newly acquired grasp at essay writing get rusty. Frequent use will polish off the rough edges.