Essays are a vital part of life during education and, depending on the field you choose to enter, you might be writing them long into your working career too. Sadly, some people naturally find them more enjoyable to write than others. If you’re not a big fan of the format, but need to do them anyway, there are some ideas you can try to make the writing process more appealing. Everything is easier when it’s fun, so if you’ll be writing essays for a while and have the chance to put a process in place, these 10 tips might be just what you need to succeed.
1. Tackle the Essay like a Story
Your essays might deal with factual content, and most do. However, there’s no reason not to write a story as an essay, with the factual elements already in place and eliminating the need to do any major research. If something is worth writing an essay about, the chances are that all the key plot points are in place. Your job is to relay them in a way that makes sense, and there’s no harm in making it feel like you’re telling a story rather than simply recounting events.
While we can only speak from our own experience, stories are a lot more fun to write than essays, so if you can think of a beginning, middle and end, writing out the rest of the plot shouldn’t be all that difficult.
2. Take the Time to Make it Fun
Before you even put pen to paper – or finger to keyboard – think about whether you can do something with the essay that makes it more enjoyable. If you’re writing about history, and something that has undoubtedly been covered many times before, consider whether you can make your essay unique by drawing on lesser-known parts of the character of key people. Consider whether you can frame events in such a way that they draw on humour or satire. In short, do things differently, do them your way and add a personal touch which also make the document easier to write.
3. Don’t Just Write for What You Think the Audience Wants
You might write an essay to improve your authority on a subject, or as part of a school or college subject. Either way, the important thing is never to fall into the trap of writing what you think the reader expects. In a college setting, your professor or tutor will have to read thirty or more similar essays on the subject. Do both them and yourself a favour and break from the norm. Sure, they might have goals in mind, but if you can check them off but surprise them with unusual facts or a different approach to context, they’ll enjoy your essay enough to be generous with their grades.
4. Get the Important Things Out of the Way First
No matter how many words you’re tasked with writing, the fact is that your essay will need to put across just a few key points. Those points only require a couple of sentences before you’ve said all you need to say for the purpose of the essay. Everything else is supporting information – and the part of the content that you can have the most fun with. There’s that key word again, so get your main sentences written to ensure you’ve answered what’s asked of you with the essay, and proceed to work on the more interesting and flexible parts of the text.
5. Use Sources Extensively
In our experience, some tutors are more interested in your ability to find and interpret sources than the quality of the essay. That doesn’t go for all of them, so don’t get carried away, but feel free to be liberal with sourced information. It still contributes towards the overall word count and you have all the information you need prewritten.
6. Don’t Dwell on the Introduction or Conclusion
Some people like to start and end their essays with a bang, and pride themselves on the quality of their intros and outros. However, while there’s nothing wrong with that, try to leave them until last. The body of the content will guide what you should include in these parts, and they become much easier to write when you have all the relevant facts in mind.
7. Avoid Retelling the Same Stories
Essays often demonstrate your understanding of a subject, and simply recounting what happened or what’s currently happening won’t be enough for your essay to stand out in the crowd. Do cover what’s gone on, but spend more time on why and how things happened. This coverage will enable your essay to stand out.
8. Try Stream of Consciousness Writing
Assuming you haven’t left the essay to the last minute and have plenty of time to edit, don’t be afraid to let the ideas flow, regardless of order or relevance. It’s a lot easier to compile an essay when you already have words on the page and if you’re well-versed in a subject, you shouldn’t worry about letting it all out and tidying it up later.
9. Dive into the Detail
The wider you search, the more detail you’ll have and you can focus on different parts of your account than everyone else. Always avoid vagueness, use correct terminology and cram in as much as you can to support your overall conclusion.
10 Take the Opportunity to Educate Yourself beyond the Essay Requirements
Some people seek out individual websites and small sources for their essays. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you like to read and learn, go a step further and grab entire books on the subject. You’ll have author opinion to work with, and another source that most others won’t. No matter the subject, the chances are someone has written on it previously, so make use of their expertise and opinions to help to form your own compelling argument – even if their resources are only slightly related to your core message.