Thursday, April 25, 2013

You Will an Essay Write

All the young Jedi apprentices groaned when Master Yoda announced, "You will an essay write."

Once upon a time, everything was made by hand. Each item had to be crafted individually; it took forever because there was no standardization. When Man grasped the concept of using patterns, templates and molds to mass-produce identical parts for later assembly, manufacturing efficiency took a great leap forward. Whether making furniture or automobiles, once people had assembled the first model, building additional copies was a piece of cake. They could be certain that the parts would fit together.

Why can't the same process be applied to writing essays?

Many folks would argue that writing an essay is not the same as building a car. An essay written by one individual will always differ from that of another. Conventional Wisdom says, "Essays defy standardization, so of course there is no way to make writing them easy." As a result, students believe that they must start from scratch all over again on each new essay assignment. The prospect causes great consternation. "What will I write? Where will I begin? If only there were some kind of essay writing system..."

The perception that no part of the essay writing process can be "systematized" (i.e. repeated over and over again) is flawed. It overlooks the fact that the structure of virtually every type of essay follows the same format. American high school English classes focus almost exclusively on the content of an essay. Since each essay assignment deals with new subject matter, students assume that all essays are different. They don't realize that "topic" is an irrelevant factor. There is very little discussion about the format of a properly structured essay.

Too bad! Most students don't learn the secret that makes writing essays easy - all they have to do is follow the same format every time. Usually the topic of the essay assignment is posed in the form of a question. There is never any doubt about where to begin - the first sentence of the essay should answer the question! After that, list some reasons supporting the answer. In the following paragraphs, provide details to back up those reasons. Each paragraph should deal with only one reason. Come to a conclusion.

It's a morceau de gateau (piece of cake). There is no need to feel confused. When students follow the format, writing an essay becomes like painting by the numbers. The formula never changes. Follow the yellow brick road and always stay on the path. If high school English teachers would devote three measly days to teaching this concept (and only this concept), most students would no longer have to panic when they hear, "You will an essay write."

c. 2009 Michael Strong

Friday, April 12, 2013

How to Write Essays - 4 Easy Essay Writing Tips

f you've been consistently struggling with how to write essays, this article will show you four easy steps to writing consistently high quality essays. The main things you need to focus on are the essay subject, the opening paragraph, the overall structure of the essay, and your essay content and analysis. This article also provides links to two excellent resources for essay writing.

1. Picking a Subject for Your Essay

The first step when working out how to write essays is to decide what your subject or theme will be. Knowing the subject of your essay enables you to focus your efforts. You can immerse yourself in finding out all there is to know about a particular topic without any chance of getting distracted.

If possible, pick a subject you are interested in, because this will make writing the essay much easier. Even if you have been given a topic, try and find an 'angle' to it that has some interest to you. Good resources for essay material are the internet, written or e-books, journals or even interviews of people versed in your chosen subject.

Once you have found your topic, the next thing to focus on is the structure of your essay.

2. Structuring Your Essay

A vital part of learning how to write essays is to understand the importance of structure. Structure helps the reader to understand where your essay is going and what you are trying to tell them. Think of the structure as a 'framework' around which you can build your writing,

Firstly, while researching your topic, write down the main points in dot point form, using only a few words - these will form the main structure for your essay. It doesn't matter much at this stage what order they are in - you can sort that out later.

Under each main point, jot down 2 or 3 sub points that go into a bit more detail about that particular aspect of your essay.

Once you have this basic structure in place, you can start thinking about how many words to write for each part of your essay.

3. Number of words in your essay

This is a very important aspect of how to write essays. Let's say you have 2000 words to write for the whole essay and 5 main points, with 2 subpoints for each. Remember that you will also need an introductory and concluding paragraph, so that makes it about 12 paragraphs in total. This means you will need to write about 150-200 words per paragraph or sub point. Once you start to break it down in this way, you can see that learning how to write essays is not overwhelming - all you have to do is write a short piece of text for each of the ideas you are presenting.

Once you have the structure written down in note form, with the number of words for each paragraph, you can start to work on the details of your essay content.

4. Essay Content and Analysis

Look at what you have read for each of the main points of your essay and work out how you can talk about it in your own words, or in a more informative way. Look at your essay research notes and decide for yourself if the writers have made claims which, in your opinion, lack substance. If necessary, compare different claims and write down which of them is more valid, in your opinion, and explain why to your reader. Remember that each paragraph needs to lead into the next. This 'smooths out' the structure and helps the essay to 'flow' better.

Analysis can be a challenging thing to tackle when you are first starting to learn how to write essays, but it is well worth persevering with because it will make your essays much more worthwhile and readable.


In this article you have seen there are only four steps to writing a great essay. Learning how to write essays is an important part of improving your communication skills. It will be time well spent and there are many tools available to make your task much easier.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Creative Writing Prompts - Hot Wire Your Creative Writing With New Writing Prompts

Every writer has their own unique creative writing abilities, a way of spinning words together like no-one else. Also, we're all capable of improving our writing, writing more richly, more deeply, more abundantly.

Often though we simply don't write.

Our creative writing potential just sits there, desperate to be set free but somehow unable to even start.

It's like owning a beautiful, elegant and extremely fast sorts car, but it's just sitting on your front drive and you've lost the keys...

So how do you find those keys?

How do you get that sports car that is your creative writing potential started up and out to rip it up on the open road?

Hot wire it!

You need a way of getting it started, something to give that initial ignition spark that fires the engine. The best way of doing this with your creative writing is to use some kind of creative writing prompt.

A writing prompt can just be a few words, a paragraph, a short exercise, an image, something that gives your creativity a starting point to set off in its imaginative journey from.

Many of us fear or avoid creative writing prompts, because we feel it's taking a short cut somehow, or it's cheating, we should come up with every tiny part of every idea ourselves.

It's an understandable concern in principle.

But using creative writing prompts is not copying or plagiarising someone else.

It's simply using that starting point to challenge and encourage your creative writing talents to get to work and produce something interesting, something that's all your own creation.

If you wanted to adopt this purist approach of not wanting to use creative writing prompts and be totally 100% original, you could also say - OK you can't use any SEQUENCE of words that anyone else has ever used. Oh and you can't use any WORDS that anyone else has ever used either. Actually, you can't even use the same LETTERS, you must make up your own alphabet, then your own words, then you can write something that's completely 100% original. Happy?

Seems a little silly doesn't it?

What would happen then also is no-one would even understand your writing, it would just be symbols on a page.

A huge part of creative writing is to weave the words that connect with people, that touch them, prompt them to recall a memory, an emotion or an experience from their own life.

It's very hard to do that with a completely new alphabet and language!

If you've had these kind of concerns before, maybe it's time to try out some writing prompts and see where they lead, see how they can hot wire that beautiful sports car of yours.

Why let it just sit there gathering dust on your driveway any longer?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How to Use Creative Writing Prompts to Become a Better Writer

Creative writing prompts are a great tool we can use to explore and expand our writing, especially when it feels like we can only churn out the same old words and phrases time and time again.

So how do writing prompts work, and why should you consider using them in your writing?

Imagine your creative writing potential is a vast ocean, stretching off into the distance for as far as you can see. The problem is, you're merely paddling around at the shore, unable to go in any deeper than up to your ankles, while that ocean of possibility seems tantalisingly out of reach.

So you could wade out a little further, maybe even swim, and maybe you do this from time to time. But to really set sail on a voyage of writing discovery, you need a boat!

The problem isn't a lack of writing ability or a lack of ideas, or enthusiasm. The problem is taking the plunge and getting started on new writing adventures.

So, if you had a boat, you could push off from the shore in any direction you wish, sail as far as you wanted, even go around the world and back if that's what your heart desired. No more sitting at the shore gazing out in frustration and wondering if you'd ever write anything stimulating and rewarding again. You'll be too busy enjoying your sea adventures to worry about things like that!

So, back to your creative writing... The question is, how do you find a boat?

This is where creative writing prompts come in. A writing prompt gives you an initial direction to head in, and a strong launch from the shore. You have a specific idea in your mind to start with, which your creativity, once invited, will happily take over and explore in its own unique way.

But, hang on, if the prompt isn't your own idea, isn't that "cheating"?

This is a common concern and the simple answer is no. As soon as you set sail with the prompt, where you take it is completely up to you. After that initial push off, the sails and rudder are in your hands and you can use them to head in any direction you want to.

With writing prompts you don't then have someone on your shoulder (or in your boat!) giving you instructions about what to write, how many words to use, and which punctuation is most suitable. You're free to write however you want to write. The difference is, you've been given that initial boost that you've struggled to find on your own lately. Take it, use it, write the best you can write!