It’s been a while since anyone’s taught me how to write an essay. Somehow we are all supposed to have this figured out by high school so we can perfect the art in time for college. Unfortunately, most students forget the basics of essay-writing and must be re-taught.
Why is this? It seems simple enough: pick a topic, research it, and report your findings. What isn’t emphasized enough is how to organize your thoughts between these steps. When you finally sit down to write your essay, there shouldn’t be a blank page in front of you. Instead, you should have an outline or diagram (aka mind-mapping) laying out the order of the essay as well as lists of quotations or facts to be included as support. Spend as much time organizing your ideas as you do researching, otherwise you will end up with more information than you know what to do with and nowhere to put it.
Attempting to write a finished product from a blank page is setting yourself up for failure.
Trust me. I’ve failed.