Essay writing is a crucial part of the modern academic system.
However, the thing is, just because a thing is ubiquitous doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. Anyone can write an essay, but not anyone can actually write a good essay. It takes time to learn. It takes practice to learn how to do it effectively.
The field of essay writing is a vast subject which can’t be covered in a single article. But what can be covered is the topic-wise approach, in simple lessons.
So today, let’s look at the topic, “Six factors to consider while writing an essay.” These factors are important as they affect the effectiveness and the performance of your essay. Let’s consider the first factor: the topic.
Choose the right topic. I cannot repeat this enough. You must choose the right topic, if at all you have been given the right to choose your own topic.
Many students mess up their chances by going at it wrong from the beginning by choosing either a too hard topic, an unmanageable topic, a topic which they don’t know much about, etc. It destroys their chances of success, and we haven’t progressed to the outlining phase yet.
If you can’t choose your own topic and have to write an essay based on a given topic, you have to understand the topic first. You can’t write an essay which is not relevant to the topic. This is one of the worst mistakes anyone can do, as their efforts are strictly irrelevant.
For example, if the topic is The Role of WhatsApp in Modern Communication, and you write a technical essay on WhatsApp and its communication architecture and protocol, then you’ve completely missed the point. The topic was about the social role of WhatsApp and its ubiquitous use as a replacement for SMS, whereas you wrote an essay detailing the technical standard.
The net result was that your essay was irrelevant to the topic.
Next, let’s move on to the outline.
Should you outline or not? That is the question. Ultimately, there is no right answer to this question. Yes, it’s back to the old answer I tend to give at Writers’ Treasure, “it depends.” Why is that?
It’s because for some purposes, outlining before starting to write the essay will be useful, whereas in other purposes it will be unnecessary and useless.
It all depends on your essay topic, the purpose of your essay, the environment in which your are writing the essay in, etc.
If for example, you have to write an essay in an examination, then most probably, there won’t be enough time for making an outline beforehand. If there is time, then sure, you can try making an outline / basic skeleton of the structure of your essay. But if there is no time, you simply begin writing it.
On the other hand, take the example of an essay you have to write for an assignment. It may be long or short, but assignment essays tend to be on the longer side. In that case, it makes a lot of sense to go for outlining before you start writing the essay, as it can make an effective control mechanism for seeing where you strayed off the topic, etc.
The conclusion is that outlining is a major, but not vital component of essay writing. You may use it and get terrible results, and you may not use it and still be able to write an amazing essay.
It’s because an outline by itself doesn’t automatically make your essay good. But it can help it to become better, just as long as you use it at the right time.
The conclusion: Outline when you think you should, and don’t outline when it’s not suitable.
Moving on to the target audience…
The target audience
Your target audience is the person who reads your essay. It all comes down to the purpose of your essay.
The effectiveness of your essay is measured by the person who reads the essay. You may think the essay is good, but in reality it could be atrocious. It’s because in academic writing, you can’t write anything which only you think is good. You have to – I repeat, you have to – write for the reader.
In this case, the reader may be the examiner, your class professor, etc. Whoever they are, you have to keep in mind the requirements which they have set. You have to follow the guidelines which they have set to be followed.
The conclusion: In short, you cannot ‘go out on a limb’ – you have to go according to the rules. You have to understand your target reader, and you have to write according to the understanding formed of them.
For example, if the guidelines specifically mention that the essay should be written in simple language with no jargon, then you shouldn’t fill up your essay with technical jargon and vice versa.
Let’s now move on the main content of the essay, starting with the introduction.
The introduction is one of the most important factors of an essay.
In novels, it’s well-understood that editors know how you write by reading the opening pages…. sometimes even the first few lines.
In essays and in academic writing in general, it’s even more difficult. You get the benefit of the doubt only for about three to four sentences, before the examiner / professor understands the quality of your writing.
It’s in these few sentences that you have to make the right impact. You have to create the right image in the mind of the reader. It’s easier said than done, but with practice, feedback and continuous learning, it’s possible.
The conclusion: Keep practising introductions. Learn what to include to make the introduction live and interesting to the reader, and incorporate the same in it.
This is the bread-and-butter of your essay. You have a great topic, you have done / not done an outline, and you have written a fantastic introduction. But the job isn’t done yet – it’s only beginning.
In the body you write the main points which form the basis of your discussion on the topic. These points must be clearly defined, relevant to the topic, written with appropriate style and correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.
The conclusion: The body content of your essay depends on the topic chosen. You can use quotations, arguments and counter-arguments, personal experiences, analysis, etc, to make the essay more interesting and increase its effectiveness.
The conclusion of the essay
Without a conclusion, an essay is incomplete. Its body may be phenomenal, but it won’t be a finished piece of writing until you write the conclusion.
The conclusion is generally not the hardest part of an essay. It contains of a basic summary of the essay’s points and your overall point of view of discussion. It should provide an idea what your essay is all about in one paragraph.
- WritePro.net’s essay services.
- Guidelines for academic essay writing by Carleton University.
- SkillsYouNeed article on essay writing.
- 7 tips on writing an effective essay by Fastweb.
Simply put, you should take these factors in mind while you’re writing an essay. By using these factors well, your work becomes easier. No one ever said essay writing is easy – but it helps to start off with the right foot, and then, keep at it until the finished work (your essay) is great.
If you have anything to add to this article, be sure to mention it in the comments section, and don’t forget to subscribe to Writers’ Treasure.
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