Essay writing can be fun

Essay writing can be fun

Depending on what the topic and instructions demand, there are ways of writing unique and creative essays, even academic ones.

Among the various tasks that one is assigned at school and college, academic essays tend to present both the biggest challenge, as well as the best opportunity for students to express their opinions. These essays are usually assigned on a specific topic or subject. The writer is asked to present their perspective, perception, point of view on a certain aspect of the syllabus, or call on a thorough critical analysis of a phenomenon, text, piece of art.

Whatever the case may be, rather than viewing the academic essay as a curse, students will be much better placed if they perceive this task as a platform to share their unique and individualistic ‘take’ on the matter at hand. So how do we ensure that we write creative and compelling academic essays?

Understand the topic

Many students have a tendency to work in a hurried manner. The results can be catastrophic. We must, therefore, first and foremost, ensure that we read, and re-read the assigned essay task. Reading all the instructions that accompany your essay-writing task is critical.

Only then will we know if the essay calls on us to critically analyse something or if it asks us to present an argument based on research. It may also ask us to compare two aspects of a topic, or in some cases, even need an amalgamation of all of the above. Depending on the instructions, we can decide exactly what type of essay to prepare.

Essay styles

Depending on what the topic and instructions demand, there are ways of writing unique and creative essays, even academic ones. Persuasive essay-writing tends to be the most widely used.

Here, the writer, based on one’s research, builds an argument whose purpose is to convince the reader of the chosen ‘side’ of an argument. 

For instance, if the topic was to argue in favour of or argue against demonetisation, the writer will use statistics, facts and figures from various studies and collate a roster of information that supports, bolsters and proves the writer’s chosen argument.  

If however, the topic is more close-to-home for the writer, he or she may take a different approach, and employ the narrative style instead and build the essay around a more personal, story-based way of writing.

Which style of essay-writing the writer chooses greatly determines how the essay is read.

Research 

The one area that writers must be exceedingly cautious is research. The internet presents a goldmine of information on almost any topic in the world.

However, it also contains far too many errant, propaganda-driven sites and resources that have incorrect, doctored, or misleading information. We must, therefore, guard against the tendency of using information from these kinds of sources.

Credible organisations and their online portals/studies should be used, rather than some unknown, unaccredited resources. Second, each piece of information, number or statistic that is researched must be chronicled in detail and be ready as an annexure that can be submitted along with the essay, should the need arise. This ensures that one’s material stays authentic, credible, and free from plagiarism. 

Have a plan

It helps immensely to have a plan, before actually writing. Different writers use different tools to make this plan. Some make a mind-map. Others jot down points. Still more make a sketch or an outline of what and how they are going to write.

Think of it as gathering all the ingredients and prepping them before cooking a dish. If the prep is done thoroughly and in advance, the cooking process is smoother and the dish turns out better. It’s like that with essay writing as well.

Do your research and note down the sources. Think about the style and treatment and jot down the outline. Then, when you get down to writing, you can focus on writing well, instead of figuring out what to write next!

Write from the heart

Finally, with everything prepared…write! But here too, one must watch out for being accused of sounding sterile and report-like. Instead, to make academic essays read and sound engaging, the key is to infuse them with the writer’s thoughtfully considered and heartfelt personality and opinions. 

An academic essay, in my view, isn’t just about putting out facts and figures. It must be a healthy mix of fact and opinion, of report and personality.

To this end, it helps to have a mixed style of writing as well. There’s no rule that specifies that a writer must exclusively write in one particular style. Mix styles, explore formats and arrive at what works best for you. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be restricted. And don’t view the academic essay as some boring mandate.

With this shift in attitude and perception, I’m certain it will result in some very unique essays!