An essay is one of the most challenging types of writing to master. An essay isn’t just a story or a speech—it’s also a document. It must meet specific standards to be considered an essay. As such, it requires more skill and care than other types of writing. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to improve your chances of creating essays that feel like essays again. By taking a few simple steps, you can get back into the habit of crafting quality pieces of academic writing with confidence and ease. Here are some tips that will help you write with confidence this semester:
Be wary of over-emotional language.
When writing an essay, you’re trying to convey information to an audience. You’re trying to appeal to their emotions, not just your own. Be careful here. You may want to use words that are very personal or that make mention of your feelings. While it’s OK to write about how you feel, try to keep your language professional and neutral when writing for the sake of your reader(s) and your academic paper. For example, I was particularly interested in this section because its tone is very personal—it speaks about how you feel on various occasions rather than explaining why you think that way.
Organize your thoughts before writing your essay
Writing an essay often feels like you’re struggling to breathe. You may feel as if your thoughts are continually swarming around you, and you’re finding it hard to concentrate. It’s essential to try to organize your thoughts before you start writing. Here’s an example: This is an exciting idea, and I love how you framed it—especially how you mentioned the “dark side.” But remember: If you’re not at least halfway finished with your essay, it’s probably too late to organize it. So before you begin writing, jot down some basic ideas about what you want to say. Once you’ve got some structure, you can fill in the blanks as you go along.
Stop trying to be fancy and write.
When trying to use fancy words or create a bridge to include multiple topics, you may be trying to impress people with your writing ability. However, this often comes at the expense of clarity and brevity. You don’t need to be an expert in creative writing to recognize this. You don’t need to be a poet to realize that words have a meaning behind them; when you use them, you have to be clear about what you’re trying to say. For example, You really shouldn’t use metaphors when you’re trying to convey a message that’s specific to one person. Your reader can easily substitute one word for another if you use a word that’s not specific to them.
Make your essay evidence-based.
Just because you’ve heard that an example of research is good doesn’t mean you have to do the research. This is one of the essential aspects of essay writing: You have to use factual evidence and not just your ideas. When writing an essay, you must use evidence from real life and your own experiences to strengthen your points and make your argument stronger. You can usually find this kind of data in the form of citations. A citation is a source you’ve used to back up your claims.
Always use specific examples.
As we’ve already discussed, examples are the most critical way to prove your point. Avoid using general terms such as “most of the time” or “most of the people.” Instead, use specific examples to support your claims and make your writing more compelling and engaging. For example, You mention that you often feel “nerve-wrack[ed],” but you don’t provide any specifics. You could talk with a friend about how you think and then use their words as examples.
Empower your own words
It’s tempting to copy and paste your content from various websites into one of your papers. However, it’s better to tailor your content to reflect your views. Doing so gives your writing a more personal touch. Here are a few things to try to empower your own words:
- Type your captions and citations into the body of your paper.
- Boldface your headlines and subheadings.
- Use your images (unless you’re embedding them from your website).
Be specific: Focus on one central idea at a time.
It’s best to avoid broad generalizations when possible. For example, you shouldn’t say that everyone loves sweets because that doesn’t mean everyone loves sweets. Instead, focus on one central idea at a time and use specific examples to support your point. Avoid using jargon and particular terms that people won’t understand.
Use specific language
Don’t be afraid to use specific, everyday language when you have to:
- Use the names of individual college buildings, classes, majors, and faculty members when discussing exciting or famous people from your school or your region.
- Use your own words when writing about famous places, books, and events in your life.
- Use past tense when writing about events that have already happened.
Start with a strong thesis statement
The first thing you have to do when you’re trying to write a paper is to decide on a solid thesis statement. This central idea will guide your paper and help your audience understand your point of view. A strong thesis statement should be bold and relatable—it should grab their attention and make them think. It should also be short and easily verifiable. Additionally, it should include keywords so your audience can easily find your essay online.
An essay is simply a composition of facts, ideas, and thoughts. The only requirement for writing an essay is to start with a strong vision and write about it engaging and compellingly. With these tips, write with confidence and ease, and you’ll be well on crafting better and more exciting pieces of academic writing.