All writing comprises three things: words, sentences and paragraphs. If you know a few words, you can make a sentence. If you write a few sentences you can make a paragraph. Keep it simple. In the end, emails, blogs, books and novels are all made from the same substances. As long as you plan time to revise later, putting words down is easy.
There’s no right answer for what to do first. It doesn’t matter as long as you do something. Make an outline if you like. I often do. An outline gives structure, or the illusion of structure, which helps. Other times I have to turn off my mind and jump in. Only after I’ve driven myself mad wandering the page like an idiot can I map where to avoid, and where I’d like to go.
Writing begins with ideas, but we forget ideas are whispers in our minds. They’re always there. The trouble is we overpower the whispers with the loud voice of what we think we want our ideas to be. It takes quiet patience to listen carefully and that’s what creativity often means: simple quiet courage.
I keep a notebook with me at all times and that’s one habit that helps. In conversations with friends, when watching movies, or waiting for the bus, I silently write down little ideas. Sometimes as I write I discover more ideas beneath the first, so I write them down too. This may last a moment or five minutes. I have no rules other than writing little things down. I try to capture what’s in my head well enough to make sense a day or a week later when I return. Study a genius and you’ll find they had notebooks, sketchpads or prison walls to capture their thoughts. Our minds are not enough. Give me an assignment, and the first thing I’ll do is make sure my notebook is around with me all day.
Notebooks repel the fear of blank screens. They make it easy to copy a list from the notebook and put it on the top of any new thing. And the tool that holds the page is mostly irrelevant. I write in WordPress, Microsoft Word, Notepad, I don’t much care, and chasing tools is a waste of time. Shakespeare, Hemingway and Carver didn’t need much from their pre-electric and pre-web tools to write masterpieces and neither should you.
I don’t want a detailed outline, but I don’t want vagaries either. I aim for the sweet spot, a list of short sentences that demand explanation. I want sentence grenades, phrases loaded with opinion generating shrapnel for my mind. When I read them on the page I expect them to explode into opinions, thoughts, riffs and rants. How they explode depends on where my mind is at the moment. On another day they may send me to a different place, but I don’t worry about that day. Sometimes I abandon half the outline, or change the order of the sentences, or discover I have the opposite point of view I began with. I withhold judgment until there are enough words on the page to work with.
There will be dead ends and false starts but I don’t care as long as there is motion. Writing, but not revising, is all about motion. I’ll move to the next point and the next, hoping each grenade explodes, or reignites others, giving me a page of fodder to kick around. Like a fire when you’ve run out of wood, I can sense when the momentum has slowed and as I get my last runs in, I let it die. Then it is time for the work to begin.
In the first moment people get stuck they get scared. Inexperienced writers fear being stuck means they’ve done something wrong. I know the opposite is true. This is where the real work begins. It’s not writing until you’re stuck. When you’re stuck, you’re forced to think and thinking is good. Thinking is the entire point to the enterprise of writing. To think and feel and, through writing, express those thoughts and feelings to others. When you’re stuck it feels wrong, but it’s righteous. You’re being forced to reconsider what you’re doing and good writing demands consideration. Better for the writer to reconsider when writing than to have the reader consider it later and find it wanting.
When stuck I do one thing: Go to the top and reread. What seemed like a dead end will go away once you approach it again from the sequence of ideas in the preceding paragraphs. This is the one habit that makes me a better writer than the other guy. I read what I’m writing and improve it every time I read it through.
People say “that book was a great read” as if it’s a surprise. Isn’t that sad? All books should be good reads. No writer writes trying to be a bad read, a boring read. And the books that read better are ones the writer read often while writing it. Better writers might simply be better readers. They more diligently read their own work as they’re writing and fix mistakes of flow, pacing and thinking. These are more important than mistakes of vocabulary, flair or style, the three pretentious distractions we often think signify good writing. They often signify big egos and not much more.
There’s not much else to know. As I reread I refine like a river into a canyon, chipping away each time at little pieces, polishing the bits that hold up, and pushing away the ones that don’t. And when I can read through the whole piece without much changing I know I’m almost done. The last thing to do is to walk away. I need one final read with fresh eyes, eyes like my reader’s will have. And when I return there’s one more polish and pass: then it’s time to set it free and on its own into the world.
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It’s Monday tomorrow. Oh, crap, you still didn’t do your English assignment? You must be worried how to dodge the teacher with the best excuse, or to get someone to write a marvelous piece of literature for you. But how far can you get with it?
Will you keep making excuses every time?
No! You should not.
Writing is an art. Each word you write is a reflection of your thoughts on the paper. And how you express them is a way to express yourself. And when you are asked to show up your skills for a given project, it just starts to stress you down. Essay Writing is not some rocket science, just using you skills in a smart and organized manner.
Essay writing is an important part of our academic years. Whether we are kids, undergraduates or doing masters, we always have to write essays or reports of some kind about the knowledge or observation achieved so far. Thus, it is important to polish your skills at this. And moreover, you realize that the more you grow up, the lesser the time you get for your essay assignments and in fact the amount of research efforts you need to put in increases. How lucky were those good old days, when you got almost a week to write an essay on easy topics.
Now it seems that you just have to scribble down your best in a matter of few hours, and it should be an A-grade quality impressive too. So, ready to begin?
Here are the tips to write your essay well, whether it is 100 words, 500 or 1,000. You won’t be scared of the word limit once you start following these tips.
- Surround yourself with the right environment
That is essential. We do not realize the impact of the surroundings on ourselves, but it casts a huge impact. Choose a peaceful area to work, away from all the noises which drag you with them. Create a mood around you where you are motivated to work, so that the ideas can be written down in the best way.
A library is the best place to begin with. The silence and the books are a great option to be in with. A calm place is required for writing, so that you can hear your own thoughts, waiting to be expressed in words. And when you are going to be evaluated for it, then better you gear up in every way to achieve the best!
- Make an effective plan
Planning is really important when it comes to doing any task. Any mind boggling task or the toughest of the projects can be solved with a smart and effective plan. And same is true for writing too.
Before beginning the essay, think of the following topics and how to consider them while writing your essay:-
- Word limit
- Target group
- Major issues and topics to be covered
- Examples of the topics
- Suggestions and recommendations
These are the key areas which you will be covering while writing your essay, and must be explained in a good manner. Hence, sit for a while and think about them first before beginning with the essay.
For example, you’ve got to write a 1,000 words essay on the current water scarcity issues in the world and submit it by tomorrow. With so many ideas flushing down your head, you can simply start preparing up to write by breaking down your essay into sub parts, which discuss the following issues:-
- Reasons for water scarcity across the world
- Regions worst affected due to water scarcity
- Current steps being taken to cure it
- The aftermath if similar situations continue
See, it sounds easier now, right? Your ideas will get organized if you do so.
- Shut out the world
Yes, please! Ditch that phone, or just put it in silent mode. Log out of all the social websites and then get, set, go! As I told earlier, calmness is required to hear your own thoughts. And to do so, you need to stay away from other people’s conversations too. This gives you the right mood to focus on your own work and do your best.
- Do research for your essay
Yes, that is important. You can’t just write a fictitious article all the time! You need facts and relevant data to rely upon. This should be done thoroughly before beginning to write, so that you understand the topic well and the thoughts would generate continuously while writing.
And when you start penning them down and you need help, go back to the reference material and take help. Reference gives you the right direction to go, and the facts are real too. Hence, use such matter to make the best benefits out of it.
- Set realistic goals
Do not aim to write a wonderful piece of your thoughts in just 20 minutes. No, don’t even think to do that. You might just end up get screwed by your teacher. Aim for targets that are realistic and can be achieved by you. You know the best and the worst about yourself, so bring it to use.
Plan for a short break or two in between, decide for which topics you need to refer study material and which ones you can write well on your own. This way, create a rough outline of the time you will be spending in writing.
- Begin with the heading
That is the first part which can make or break you! A headline is the first opening line to the reader which tells about the article. Hence, it should be to-the-point and not very lengthy. A gist of the article should be wrapped around smartly in few words for a heading.
If required, a sub-heading may also be given, if you feel that there is more to be included in your headline section. The headline should be attention grabbing and able to give an idea about the content of the article.
Some of the examples for an effective headline are as follows:-
- Using case studies as an online tool for organizational managers
- Is your child a gifted athlete?
- Current water scarcity scenarios in the world
Notice that each of the headlines is complete in them and gives an idea of what the article would be.
- The smart introduction
It may seem that introduction is the hardest part to write, but is also the most important part of the essay. Introduction is the first section of your essay, giving a brief about the topics discussed in the article. It should be to-the-point and complete in itself. Examples or criticisms is not included in an introduction, keep that in mind.
- Go with the flow
Once you begin with the main content of the essay after the introduction, let your thoughts crawl out of your head and find a place through your words. Don’t judge what you are writing, just keep writing, writing and writing. Once you tune in to the right rhythm of interpreting your ideas in form of words, you should never stop. There should be absolutely no distraction in this process.
There may occur spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes or you may have done some error in page layout, but leave it for later. Whatever is in your head, it should be written down first.
And that’s the place where you end up the flow of your thoughts. All the points should have been discussed, the facts been agreed or been criticized and information displayed properly before your conclusion.
Suggestions can be included in a conclusion, regarding what changes or ideas you can suggest from your side. Also, if you feel that some topic was irrelevant or not up to the mark, it can be mentioned in the conclusion. From the research and the essay written, the things you understood and learnt can be explained in the conclusion. Thus, a conclusion is the end part of your essay.
As heard earlier, the first and the last part of any presentation are the peak points that make an impression on people’s minds. Just as the introduction is required to be crisp and impressive, so id the requirement for the conclusion too.
- The final step- editing
The most crucial one! To avoid someone else pointing out your flaws, dig them out yourself. Editing is even more important when you have written your essay all in a continuous flow, when you do not judge how you are writing, what you are writing. You were just writing. And now, it is the time to polish it out and give it a perfect look.
Take help of spell check and correct all your spellings. If you feel there is not much new terminology in your essay, check out the suggestions in thesaurus for synonyms. But keep in mind that the synonyms too, should be simple ones which are used in regular speech. Erase off the lines which you feel are unnecessary and add the facts that you’ve jumped, but you think that they are important.
Also, correct the flow of your thoughts while editing. That is also an important step. The process should be organized systematically, explaining the process or a problem step by step. The normal flow pf a procedure or problem is as follows:-
- Current scenario
- Conclusion and Recommendations
The information should be organized in a similar manner so as to explain everything properly.
Once you are done with editing all the way, give a final reading to your essay, just to make sure that everything is in order and makes sense.
The art of writing can be mastered only by writing fluently. Do not hesitate to make mistakes, for it is the mistakes that give us lessons. The key is to explain your ideas in the best way possible and to polish your skills. This way, not only you will score good in your evaluation, but also learn the art of expressing yourself through writing.