As a professional writer I often struggle to start my own essays, looking at the blank page in front of me. It’s frightening enough for me, an adult journalist, so how could we expect kids and teenagers to write amazing essays?
No wonder they are spending hours in front of the desk, trying to conceive an essay that can land them an A or one of the positions at an Ivy League college. This is why essay writing coaches are so busy, guiding kids on how to write the perfect paper. However, is this only a simple creativity problem? Or are we adults are guilty of something more?
Well, we are! Teachers often provide shallow or way too simple guidelines, which fail to actually guide the child towards writing a good essay. That amazing essay is not going to come up from the plain instructions you are usually given, so here are the things no one is going to tell you about writing an essay. Get the inspiration from these and rock those papers!
Play with your writing
Most students are going to spend hours in front of the blank paper, wondering what to write when they are asked for a story. This is because we don’t all have exciting, adventurous lives, so writing a story essay is not an easy task, if you are trying to tell a personal story. However, your imagination has no limits! Instead of trying to write a perfectly true story for the essay, just start from a real fact and embellish it in a credible way. Make sure you provide reliable facts and you tie your story to reality by adding citations.
Avoid the common trail
When you are asked to write an expository essay on a case, most people would take on the same case in the news or in the literature. This means there are going to be dozens of similar essays to read for the evaluator. Boring and full of cliches essays that seem to be copy-pasted from the same machine. Break the pattern by writing a completely different essay! If everyone is talking about the way millennials like to spend time online, you can write about how millennials change the fashion world. The new perspective is going to attract the reader and will make you stand out from all the other students who chose to write the same case. It doesn’t need to be the way you see a case – as long as it’s a unique perspective, it doesn’t matter if you or the teacher agree with it.
Formatting is more important than you think
Content is very important for an essay, but formatting is equally essential. If you can see the formatting errors, such as small caps and lack of periods, before you actually start reading the essay, you will judge it was written by a poor student. This is how teachers think and act, so an edited essay, even if it’s a poorly written one, has more chances of getting bigger marks, compared to a very well written essay, which lacks formatting. Don’t be afraid to stir up controversies.
If no one is offended by your essay, there is something wrong with the essay. A high quality paper is one that stirs up controversies, that sparks interest! I good essay is one that is able to make people comment and talk about it, even if they are saying negative things. But then there is a high amount of relativity in writing an essay…
Interesting for you
What is interesting for you, might not be interesting for the person reading the personal essay. This is OK and you can’t do anything to change this. Each person has his own perspective and there are no two teachers who are going to award the same grade to the same essay. Unlike math or physics, literature is relative. There are emotions and perspectives involved, so there is no 100% correct answer. This is why most people will never get 100 points out of 100 for an essay, especially when there are multiple readers who rate the paper. Don’t let this fact discourage you from writing great essays. Accept there are things you can’t control and simply give your best each time you write an essay.
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