"When I was young each fresh piece of serious work used to seem to me for a time -- perhaps a long time -- to be beyond my powers." Bertrand Russell -- "How I Write", The Writer, September 1954.
Writing essays, articles and research papers may sometimes seems to be beyond our powers. Surely, organization and persistence are the keys in the process of writing. In what follows, there are seven hints for writing an essay:
1. Separate the different parts of the process associated with the writing: research, inspiration, organizing ideas, writing, and editing.
2. Make a list (10-20 items). Simply jot down phrases, keywords, definitions, questions, images and whatever which relates to the topic (the main essay subject). And then gather in big themes the ideas that can be connected.
3. Build an essay structure (template): title, opening sentence, background, statement of scope, thesis statement (or the position statement), development of ideas (with at least three main points and secondary points), and conclusion (summary paragraph). All the supporting paragraphs of the main body must have a strong organization, namely: topic sentence, evidence, commentary, and concluding sentence. Essays have many purposes, but the basic structure is the same.
4. Work on the individual sections: write the main body first, then the introduction, the title and the conclusion. And expand these sections: use always concrete and clear examples to argue on your thesis.
5. Edit and wrap up the paragraphs. Observe the logical linkage between the paragraphs and use appropriate transitional phrases. Introductory words such as "In fact", "Equally import", "All things considered"... are an "additional plus" as they show a knowledge of the literary language. In a word, the essay must flow smoothly.
6. Check the cohesion or the sense of the development, verifying if the thesis statement is functioning as a unifying spark.
7. Revise for grammatical and writing flaws.
Marco Antônio Bomfoco is a professor at the Faculty of Technology SENAC in South Brazil. A Ph.D. from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, and an M.A. from the same university, Marco is a long-time language enthusiast. His many interests include writing, general linguistics, anthropological linguistics, case theory and grammatical relations, history of linguistics, artificial languages, phenomenology, story telling, myth, and game theory.