How To Make A Start On That Essay
You’ve sat down, got your laptop open, and your coffee steaming next to you. It’s time to write that essay! Once you open the new document, though, disaster strikes, and you can’t think of what to write. At all. What do you do?
Don’t worry, writer’s block happens to everyone. This guide will help you push past the block and get that essay started. Here’s what you need to do.
Why Can’t You Start The Essay?
First of all, you need to figure out what’s stopping you from writing your essay. You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions, to work out what’s going on.
- Do you not understand the assignment? This is the most common reason writers can’t get started on their essay. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class, and talk to your tutor. Look at the assignment itself, and pick out the keywords. What are the most important points in it? For example, look for words like ‘analyse’, ‘compare and contrast’ or ‘discuss’, as they’ll show you what you need to do.
- Have you done the right amount of research? Doing too little or even too much research can leave you stumped. If you feel you don’t know enough, try reading further into the topic and saving any documents that could be useful. If you’ve done too much, burrow down through all the information to find the points that are important to the task at hand.
- Are you worried about how you sound? Many students feel they don’t sound ‘smart’ enough in their essays. Your professors aren’t looking for ‘smart’ sounding essays, they’re looking for ones that take a point and argue it well. Remember, there’s often not a ‘right’ answer. You just need to pick your viewpoint, and back up your ideas with solid facts.
- Are you too stressed to write? Every student reaches a point where they’re too stressed to continue. Take a quick break from working, and come back to the essay with a fresh mind. If you ensure you set aside time for study and breaks, you can take a lot of pressure off yourself.
How To Get That Essay Started
Now that you know what’s stopping you from writing, you’ll need to start getting some ideas down on paper. Here are some useful tips to help you out.
Don’t worry about the first draft: If the fear of getting it wrong is stopping you, remember this is only a first draft. You can use this opportunity to jot down all of your ideas, and then revise it later. Remember, no one’s going to see the draft unless you want them to.
You don’t have to start at the beginning: Stuck with the introduction? Then skip it. Start writing the sections that you can work with, and then come back to it. There’s no reason why you have to write your essay in order.
Put together a plan: A good way of un-sticking yourself is to write out a rough plan. If you have to compare two things, for example, you can start with the introduction, where you introduce both concepts. Then you can cover the benefits and drawbacks of both, then bring them both together at the end in your conclusion.
Remember an essay should be an argument: Nine times out of ten, your essay is supposed to be proving something. A list of observations on a topic is not enough to create a good essay. Pick your point, and make sure you argue your case. Also make sure that you have the evidence to back up your argument.
Start writing early: Even if you don’t feel you’re ready to write, start working on your essay as soon as you can. The earlier you start, the more time you give yourself to really get to grips with the topic. You’ll find you feel a lot less stressed too, as you’re not dealing with so much in a short space of time.
As you can see, there is a way out of writer’s block. Use these tips to work out what’s stopping you, and then get started on that essay. You’ll soon have an essay that you’ll be proud to submit.