By Taimoor Liaquat
From a business report or feasibility study, to more casual love letters and social media exposés, the uses of excellent essay writing skills are endless. Because of this, students are trained to develop their writing skills from primary school up to college, and beyond.
Unfortunately, not everyone can develop a passion for writing the best essays even with years of extensive practice in the academe. If you’re among those who need a little nudge in writing essays, then read on to learn about the top five writing tips to help you become a better essay writer.
- Read Other People’s Essays
Like learning any other skill, you would need to see samples of other people’s works when writing essays. Reading other people’s write-ups will help you develop your own writing style, especially if you choose to go through a variety of different essays.
Try to choose those that are expertly written and those that are penned by some of your peers. This will help you compare the quality and style of those close to your “level” of writing with those who have already developed an expertise in the discipline. Excellent sample essays are also abundant online in case you cannot get your hands on essays written by academics.
You can also sample the works of famous essayists such as Michel de Montaigne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Joan Didion, Langston Hughes, Virginia Woolf, and so many other great writers.
- Expand Your Vocabulary
Since you will be using words to make stellar essays, you would need to have a vast bank of words to accurately express what you want to say.
This means you should expand your vocabulary and learn how to use certain variations of the different terms well. This will prevent you from beating around the bush when trying to make a point, and deliver the message to your readers as clearly as possible.
Some of the best ways to achieve this is by:
- using a thesaurus to learn about synonyms and antonyms;
- researching about words you’re not familiar with, with the help of a dictionary;
- learning about root words, suffixes, and prefixes as well as their appropriate uses; and
- starting a vocabulary journal.
- Use the Elevator Pitch Technique to Summarize Your Essay
The “elevator pitch” technique is a strategy used by people working in sales to summarize the reasons why customers should buy their product in a short span of time. In writing essays, using this summary style means you would have to pique the interest of your readers, so much so that they would want to read more of the essay.
While this can be a challenging exercise, it can help you become extremely concise when coming up with ideas for your essay and when choosing words to use. It can also aid you in improving the clarity and flow of your sentences and in penning your introduction faster.
- Consider Your Essay as Just Another Story
If you’re one of those people who would rather scroll over Facebook or write a lengthy post about how awesome your day was at the mall, then you probably feel that essay writing is a daunting task. Fortunately, this can be remedied by a simple mindset readjustment by thinking of essays as just another Facebook post or story.
Like any other story, essays describe a conflict and change—with the conflict referring to the ideas presented in the essay, and the change pertaining to your perception of those ideas as the writer of the essay.
- Tell the Reader What Your Sources Told You
Another neat tip you can try when writing essays is to put other people’s words into your output. This means you have to research reputable sources well and quote them in the body of your essay. You can also paraphrase the information using your own words, but make sure to offer proper attribution to the original creator of the idea.
You should also include contrasting views to showcase all sides of the argument and to cater to other readers’ preferences that may be different from yours. This will make your essay “source heavy,” which is a good thing when you’re looking to impress your teachers.
Of course, you should use this technique sparingly as not all academics like this style. Some prefer to read about students’ original thoughts and ideas in the essay assignments.
Practice Makes Perfect
Nobody is born an expert essay writer, so don’t worry if you don’t immediately improve on your first try.
Remember that even great writers had to hone their skills in writing before they reached the peak of their careers. That said, try to apply some—if not all—of these tips to help you get started.
Taimoor Liaquat is the CEO at MyPerfectWords.com, renowned as the global source for professional writing services at all academic levels. The company’s team of world-class native English-speaking essay writers with advanced degrees at elite US universities ensures high-quality custom content for all clients.