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How to Start Writing an Essay

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Looking at an essay topic and have no idea what to write? This post shows you a reliable way to beat the brain freeze, and start saying what you think.
This is Part 2 of 4 in the series How to Write a Good Essay Every Time
<<Previous Post: How to Pick the RIGHT Essay Topic in 3 Easy StepsNext Post: Planning to Win: Essay Maps Part I >>


Ok, so now you’ve chosen your essay topic, what do you do next?

The whole point of writing an essay is to say what you think about a topic, so the first thing to do is work out what you think! That can be easier said then done – often when you first look at an essay topic your mind will be a blank, which is when panic can take over. And Panic of course isn’t the friend of Thinking, so you end up stuck.

Instead, take a deep breath and put your essay topic in the middle of a piece of paper (or whatever software you like to use) like this:

Hunger Games essay topic

Ok cool, now do a quick check that you understand the topic. If there are any words you don’t know, look them up. I wasn’t sure about antagonist so I looked it up, it means: ‘one that contends with or opposes another : adversary, opponent, enemy’. It can then help to rewrite the question in your own words, so that you feel comfortable with it.

(Also, this can help in an exam when you really can’t figure out what the question means. Take your best guess, rewrite the question, and then just go for it and answer that question).

Now you’re going to BRAINSTORM your topic. What this means is that you write down every idea you have, and you don’t judge them. The good, the bad, the ugly, the really weird – just get them all down and you’ll sort them out later.

The judgemental part of your mind is really useful for lots of things like making decisions and not saying really dumb stuff in front of people, but give it a holiday while you do this and let your creative mind take over.

One thing that can help is setting a timer (I often use 10 minutes). This can help stop your judgmental mind taking over – you don’t have time to think about your ideas, you just want to get as much stuff down on the page in the 10 minutes as possible. (Of course if the ideas are still coming after 10 minutes you can keep writing them down).

Ok now have a look and what you’ve written, and see if anything is connected. You can use colours to link similar ideas together.

Hunger Games essay brainstorm

Now you have somewhere to start! In the next post I’ll show you how to turn those ideas into a kick-arse essay map that will make writing a good essay a breeze.

Ok, so now you’ve chosen your essay topic, what do you do next?

The whole point of writing an essay is to say what you think about a topic, so the first thing to do is work out what you think! That can be easier said then done – often when you first look at an essay topic your mind will be a blank, which is when panic can take over. And Panic of course isn’t the friend of Thinking, so you end up stuck.

Instead, take a deep breath and put your essay topic in the middle of a piece of paper (or whatever software you like to use) like this:

Hunger Games essay topic

Ok cool, now do a quick check that you understand the topic. If there are any words you don’t know, look them up. I wasn’t sure about antagonist so I looked it up, it means: ‘one that contends with or opposes another : adversary, opponent, enemy’. It can then help to rewrite the question in your own words, so that you feel comfortable with it.

(Also, this can help in an exam when you really can’t figure out what the question means. Take your best guess, rewrite the question, and then just go for it and answer that question).

Now you’re going to BRAINSTORM your topic. What this means is that you write down every idea you have, and you don’t judge them. The good, the bad, the ugly, the really weird – just get them all down and you’ll sort them out later.

The judgemental part of your mind is really useful for lots of things like making decisions and not saying really dumb stuff in front of people, but give it a holiday while you do this and let your creative mind take over.

One thing that can help is setting a timer (I often use 10 minutes). This can help stop your judgmental mind taking over – you don’t have time to think about your ideas, you just want to get as much stuff down on the page in the 10 minutes as possible. (Of course if the ideas are still coming after 10 minutes you can keep writing them down).

Ok now have a look and what you’ve written, and see if anything is connected. You can use colours to link similar ideas together.

Hunger Games essay brainstorm

Now you have somewhere to start! In the next post I’ll show you how to turn those ideas into a kick-arse essay map that will make writing a good essay a breeze.

<<Previous Post: How to Pick the RIGHT Essay Topic in 3 Easy StepsNext Post: Planning to Win: Essay Maps Part I >>
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