Writing

On Writing Academic Essays

Writing essays for academia is challenging to say the least.

I will never claim to know everything there is to know about anything. But I think confidence is key when it comes to academic work.

I often find myself faced with the problem of not knowing what my professor wants. At times, it’s tough to reconcile what they want with what I want.

The academic essay is a genre in and of itself. I’ve written my fair share of them. I have my own unique ways of tackling them. But let’s get back to basics.

To be completely honest, I write before I research. At minimum, I brainstorm before I go hunting for sources.

I feel like researching without a plan can be a wild goose chase. That and I don’t want to get sucked down a random rabbit hole.

I think my biggest issue is not being specific enough. Vague is my middle name after all.

Instead of making broad claims, I should give an example or provide evidence.

Word choice is instrumental as well. Certain words don’t convey as much meaning as others.

Sometimes my topic sentences suck. I ought to revisit them after I finish writing the paragraph. It’s important to revise.

Introductions are tricky. I try to review them once I finish writing the paper to make the beginning better.

A lot of people recommend writing the intro last, which makes sense. How are you going to introduce what your essay is about if you don’t even know what you’re thinking until you type everything out?

I tend to write a quasi-introduction to help me get started though.

Another tip that might work is to delete the first few sentences or even the whole introductory paragraph when necessary. In doing so, the hope is you get to the point right away rather than beating around the bush.

I enjoy writing conclusions the most. Of course, I avoid introducing new ideas, but I attempt to say something my introduction doesn’t say. If the paper calls for it, I may ask a question or offer a solution.

I get too carried away with the mechanical aspects of writing that I often overlook my ideas. That’s my Achilles heel.

4 thoughts on “On Writing Academic Essays

  1. Herminia, many of your great tips could be addressed in a single blog post. Writing is tough and it takes years to get good. I would add that reading the masters–especially examples of your genre–is the best way to learn craft. So, for you, reading and analyzing academic essays that you admire can not only inspire but instruct.

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