It may seem a daunting task at first, especially if you have procrastinated and the deadline is looming. But, writing an essay does not have to be a difficult undertaking. In fact, with proper planning it can be done in practically no time at all!
Imagine building a house. You could simply slap up some boards without a blueprint and hope for the best, but it’s probably better to start with a plan. This is a good rule for constructing an essay, also. Start with an outline; this will definitely make the writing process easier.
With that thought in mind, the first step in “building” an essay is to break it down into its component parts. These are:
- References (also known as citations)
Your introduction is where you inform the reader what you will be discussing. It can be logically be dissected into three parts:
- An “attention getter”-something that hooks the reader
- A thesis statement (why you chose this topic), and
- The points you will cover
An example of a typical thesis statement would be “The Super Bowl is the culmination of hard work, team work and a little bit of luck.” This particular statement clearly defines what you’ll be writing about (The Super Bowl) and that you’ll be discussing three topics: hard work, team work and a little bit of luck. The attention-getting statement that hooks your reader could be something like: He sped downfield, turned and grabbed the ball with one hand but was immediately tackled with the ferocity of a car driven by a drunken driver into a brick wall. Get it?
The next component part of the essay is the body. Now that you hooked the reader, start writing about one of the topical points you mentioned in the introduction. Break this down into supporting sub-points. In our example, you could mention that hard work consists of weight-lifting, wind sprints and hours of practice on the field-seven days a week. Write a few sentences that support each of these sub-points. Do this for each of the topical points from the introduction.
Now, proceed to the conclusion. This is where you summarize the topics you mentioned in the introduction. It serves as a way to wrap up your essay. Four sure-fire ways to draw your work to a close:
- Call to action; convince your reader to do something. “Check out the Super Bowl. If you can’t fork out $3,000 for a ticket on the day of the game, plop down in front of your TV, invite some friends over and watch two teams that sweated their way to the penultimate confrontation between true professionals.”
- Summarize the points you addressed. “In the final analysis, it all came down to hard work, team work and a ball that just happened to bounce into the hands of an unsuspecting, lumbering, 350 pound lineman.”
- Reach a decision. “Get your ticket tomorrow; you don’t want to miss this annual extravaganza that will be watched by countless millions around the world!”
- Pose a question to the reader: “Can you bench press that 400 pounds, run a 40 yard dash in 4.4 seconds or snatch a spinning, slippery football out of mid-air running full speed knowing you’ll get driven into the ground as soon as you jump into the air?”
Make your plan and adhere to it. You’ll find that essay writing might not deserve the bad rap it’s been given for years!