Consultant’s Corner, Vol. 33 Issue 3

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Writing Support Studio

Dear Writing Support Studio,

I’m currently stuck on writing my essay, and my essay is due in a few days. I really don’t knowwhat to write, and I don’t know how to start. Help!
Sincerely,
A Stressed Student

Dear A Stressed Student,

There is no need to worry!
When beginning your essay or when you’re stuck, you should think about several key things that will play into your essay: the topic, the thesis, and, generally, what you want to say. Write those things down, and you should be quickly on your way to writing your essay. If that doesn’t get your inspiration going, there are other ways, too.
Note that there should be at least five paragraphs: your introduction, your three body, and your conclusion. Your introduction should just be to introduce your topic and thesis to the reader, and your conclusion should be a summation of your essay, which leaves you to your body paragraphs.
A simple way to keep track of your thoughts on your essay is writing a simple outline to get your ideas flowing. There are formal outlines and informal outlines, but making any outline at all will make the process easier, especially if you’re stuck and don’t know what to write. The formal way of writing an outline includes creating your thesis, creating three body paragraph topics (these are related to your thesis and the points you want to make), and under each subtopic including the points you want to make in each body paragraph.
If you want to make an outline, there are many resources that you can use for examples, such as those included on the Purdue OWL. An informal outline can be made anyway you want, but it should get these same ideas down. When you have your outline done, you have the skeleton of your entire essay, and you should be able to see where your essay is going. While you don’t have to make an outline, making one when stuck should definitely get you on track to starting and completing your essay with ease. Some reminders to note when getting yourself out of writer’s block are that your first sentence of every body paragraph should be a mini-thesis, also known as a topic sentence.
This should also help to keep thoughts flowing when writing, as well as to keep yourself on-topic for the essay.
Good luck on your essay!
Sincerely,
The Writing Support Studio