Every middle schooler gets a lot of chances to write essays. If you haven’t noticed, our English teachers love to assign them. Essays give you a great chance to work on your writing,and they can be really fun if you just follow these trusty tips:
1. THINK before you write! Good writing is a reflection of smart thinking, and you really can’t write a great essay without being pretty thoughtful. Spend some time studying your topic, whether it’s a book, an event, or just a random subject that you or your teacher choose. If you don’t understand it, the person reading your essay probably isn’t going to, either. Think about why it’s important and what points you want to make about it. Also, what’s the goal? Are you trying to get your reader to understand something? Or to believe something? Or to laugh? It really helps if you give plenty of time to what you want the final essay to be, before you ever even start to write it.
2. Start with the BASICS. Outline your essay before you fill in all the words. Make a list or a drawing of what ideas are going to go in what order. Will this be the usual essay that has an introduction, three paragraphs on different ideas, and a summary or conclusion? It might need to be shorter or longer, depending on the assignment, and it might need different pieces in there. Making the outline will let you put all that in place before you start the actual writing.
The outline also gets you organized and gets rid of any stress of feeling like you have to sit down and write out all the words in the right order, all at once. You don’t.
3. Take your time. Good writing can happen fast ,but a lot of times it just doesn’t. Don’t wait until the last minute or even the night before to get started. Give yourself time to try some things one way and maybe rewrite them if you think they would sound better or be smarter another way. It helps to do some writing and maybe finish a section or two, then do something else or take a break and go back to the writing again. That makes it easier to get a fresh look and make better edits to your own work.
4. BE CLEAR and keep it FRESH. Don’t make your sentences too long or complicated. Don’t just pick long, fancy words because you think they make you look smarter. Choose the right word, which is the one that best does the job. Try to use colorful language and not use the same words over and over. Start your sentences in different ways. Try making comparisons or drawing a visual picture with words to keep your reader paying attention.
5. CHECK your work. Make sure there are no typos, errors or misspelled words. Those will distract readers and make the essay look sloppy. It will lower your grade, too. Double-check your punctuation and tenses. The paragraph indentations should be the same each time, you might need page numbers or your name on every page, or whatever. Leave plenty of white in the margins on the sides of your pages and between the lines so it’s easy to read. The way it looks is important.
The final, unofficial tip for all essay writers is HAVE FUN. Writing essays is kind of like doing puzzles, because you get to figure out the best way to put it all together, like painting a picture for a reader. And if you get good at writing, that will pay off for a long time to come!