Do you want to be a fast writer? Do you want to write effectively? Does it take you hours to think of what to write and when you get something on paper, and then you tear it off? Well, if you’re interested in writing faster, more effectively and efficiently, then you have come to the right place.
Any piece of writing, regardless of its genre, has to be composed of the following sections: Introduction (with a thesis statement), Body (with Supporting Paragraphs), Conclusion (Summary of previous).
Now depending on the type of your piece of writing, the contents of your Body and Conclusion will be different. However, the Introduction’s style will more or less stay the same, giving the audience a brief idea about the topic’s background and the topic itself while outlining the thesis statement.
According to the “Tips and Techniques on Writing Better” research, the Single Biggest Mistake Students Make When Writing Essays is their inability to formulate clear and concise thesis statements.
Allow me to take this research finding and generalize it a little. The most common mistake people make while writing any document or paper is missing the core point or purpose of their writing, in other words: the Thesis statement.
The Thesis statement is the single statement (or 2) that outline the core of the paper; its focus and direction. That’s probably why we will deal with it as a separate step in the writing process.
- Brainstorming – Writing down anything that comes into your mind about the topic without attention to structure, sentences or even correct punctuation.
- Examine your audience – more often than not, even professionals seem to deliver incomplete or incorrect messages because of jumping onto the writing phase without attention to whom their writing is directed.
For instance, if you were writing an economic report, then no personal opinions are to be incorporated in it, but rather statistics, mathematical calculations and extrapolations only. Whereas, if you were a Systems Analyst writing as System or Software Requirements Specification Document, then you will outline all your client’s requirement in the system and your expert’s opinion as to how the final solution or system will be structured and on what technology it should be based.
- Writing your thesis statement – think of the core purpose of writing this document and try to formulate a sentence that incorporates the whole idea.
Look at the sentence once it’s written – is it clear enough? Let someone read it and explain to you what he/she understand from it. Re-iterate this step until the thesis statement is clear enough to your target audience.
- Formulating the introduction – based on the thesis statement, start formulating your introduction with background information on your topic leading to your thesis statement.
- Writing the paper (body and conclusion) whilst thinking of your audience.
Look back at the notes you wrote while brainstorming and extract those that satisfy your audience and thesis statement. Now organize these extracted ideas (and any others that pop up in your mind) in the way that best develops your main idea or thesis statement.
- Proof read for content errors – revise your audience and thesis statement and then read your whole paper to check on whether or not it conveys the message you want to deliver in the structure you wish; otherwise re-structure your paper content-wise.
- Proof read for vocabulary and grammatical (/punctuation) errors – the last step in the writing process where you focus on revising the grammar, punctuation and correctness of the English (or whatever language your writing in).
In an effort to point out how the thesis statement and introduction are parts of every piece of writing, we will hereby depict a few examples:
When writing a business proposal, your introduction would focus on the product or service your activity will be based on, but also your thesis statement has to be clear in your mind before you begin to write. The thesis statement here would be where you state the product/service you’ll discuss, its importance, market relevance and significance.
While writing an economic report, your introduction takes your audience through the most recent relevant economic changes (recession/prosperity), the current trends and international market impact, etc. and reaches to the thesis statement. The thesis statement would again be clear enough to sum up what the report is aiming onto elaborating on, achieving or establishing.
The 3rd example we’ll discuss is writing for the web. Although a little different from writing to newspapers or research institutes in the real (off line) world – in terms of audience and your power to attract their attentions – the foundation prevails. You still have to think of a brief introduction that would grab your reader’s attention and a thesis that would intrigue him to read the whole article.
Another technique is to imbed the thesis statement right at the beginning of the introduction and work backwards (events and background information wise) through the introduction. However, the former discussed technique (thesis in the last 3rd of the introduction) is the more common one.
To add to the steps above, there are a few pointers that when practiced, will lead to even better quality of writing.
- Read more – the more you read the more educated and well rounded you become; and hence you will be able to write in a better and more experienced quality of writing (College Board).
- Write more – as the famous saying has it: “practice makes perfect”. The more you write, the more you’ll be better are writing the type of papers you’re focusing on (College Board).
The Keys to Effective Writing – Tips for Tackling Your Essays and Papers – [CollegeBoard]
Tips and Techniques on Writing Better – [Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning (SCIL)]