Advice on how I write a good essay

At some point in his education, a student will be required to write one or more essays. No matter your writing background, everyone can write a good essay by taking the right steps.

A good essay must start with a good topic

The challenge of writing a stellar essay will be daunting to impossible if you don’t start with a good topic. Your topic must be interesting not only to you but also to a reader. Follow these guidelines:

  • Choose a unique topic.
  • Whatever you write about, you don’t want to simply “add to the noise,” which is to say, write about something that people have already written about over and over and over. Find something people don’t usually talk about, or a new way to examine an old topic.

  • Write about something that interests you.
  • If you’re bored with your own topic, your reader will be bored with it, too. Think of something that’s interesting to you first, and then consider what more you would like to learn about it. The process of researching and writing your paper will be fun and interesting to you, and that reflection in your writing will make it fun and interesting to you.

  • Use the people around you for feedback
  • From finding a topic to writing to editing, the people around you are excellent resources for feedback and help.

  • Brainstorm ideas with friends and family.
  • If you have found a topic but are struggling with direction, simply open a conversation with trusted friends or family members. Just the act of converting your thoughts into out-loud sentences will give you clarity and focus, and will likely ultimately lead you to a clear direction to take with your essay.

  • After your first draft, read it aloud to yourself and someone else.
  • There’s a reason the first draft is called a rough draft -- it’s rarely pretty. You’ll have to just write what you can think of the first time around. But a good essay reads like the writer is talking, basically. Essays are usually not written in a technical style -- they’re expected to be conversational. So, reading it out loud will demonstrate to you and someone else whether it reads like a manual or reads like an essay. It will almost certainly reveal to you how to make your essay shine.

  • Have fun with it!
  • Just because it’s probably an assignment doesn't mean it has to be boring. Make it fun for your sake and for the sake of the people who have to read it!

  • Include fun, interesting facts related to your topic.

Did you know that elephants actually don’t like peanuts at all? How about the fact that a grizzly bear can run as fast as an average horse? No matter what you’re writing about, there’s bound to be a few fun facts about it. Write in a few of those to keep your reader interested.



Structured Content and Logic Presentation

Each of essay sections should be well defined and written clearly. This means you should know what details to include while minimizing the amount needed. You may need to rewrite each section more than once before settling on your final copy. You should also remember to proofread, edit, and revise as these elements help make your structure more solid. Think about your details in how you want readers to view it from your perspective.


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