Image from Picjumbo

Image from Picjumbo

The ability to write effectively is a skill that requires constant polishing throughout a lifetime and as you grow and mature, you’ll want your writing to do the same. This is why it may seem more appealing to start taking off the training wheels (aka whatever formula your English teacher gave you to help you write essays) and begin making your writing entirely your own. While the formulas can still be very useful in keeping your essays well organized and structured, they will likely just be replaced by a different formula from your next English teacher the following year and so on and so forth. Creating your own personal formula allows you to stick to your strengths and create pieces that truly reflect your train of thought. Here are two ways to get started:

Utilize your interests

A great way to make your essays more unique is to integrate your other passions into it. Since a passion takes up much of your time and as a result, you have a pretty strong sense of familiarity with it. This familiarity can be used as a starting point for your new organizational structure. For example, if you’re into sports, your familiarity with the game allows you to play against any player even if you haven’t played them before. This is because you both have the same basic knowledge of the game due to how many times you’ve played it. You know that though the players may change, you are capable of adjusting your approach to fit the needs of that particular game.

Now apply this mindset when it comes to writing. While the opposing player may change (the essay style and topic) as long as you have a general game plan, you can find success. This game plan can come from one of your hobbies. Following up on the earlier sports example, if you have a successful game plan and way of thinking that has often lead to your victory, apply this mindset to your writing. Voice your thoughts in the way you would do so during practice or a game. I know this seems weird, but that is why the aforementioned sense of familiarity comes in. If you are comfortable and refined in your particular skill and combine this with all your previous lessons learned from past English courses, the weirdness will melt away as your confidence and competence take over instead.

Be inspired

This method is especially helpful when it comes to literary analysis essays. Say you’re given a prompt with a short passage attached and you notice that the author has a distinct or maybe subtle prose that you’ve picked up on. You know you want to mention it in your essay, but at the same time you feel like it encompasses so much of the piece’s purpose that you feel as though a paragraph long analysis simply won’t do. In this case, a unique approach would be to decide why you believe the author wrote in that particular way and then formulate your essay in a manner that shows that you have not only caught on to the author’s special style but you understand it to a point where you can structure your essay based on it to show your acknowledgement of its significance as well as your ability to support your claims stylistically.

Even outside of the classroom setting, familiarizing yourself with the works of great writers allows you to see how you can strive for your own greatness by seeing that writing quirks can be professional and there is no single way to “correctly” speak your mind through writing.

I hope these tips are of use to you in some way and even help inspire your own methods. Have fun writing!

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