Go back to your plan and make sure you know what you’re arguing. If you still can’t get the words out, try and write down what you want to say as simply as possible. Then move on to an easier section of the essay. Alternatively, you can try going for a walk, making a cup of tea or having a break.
Don’t expect this process to be quick or easy. For a 1500-word essay, I usually write a plan of about three sides, and spend at least three hours making sure that before I put pen to paper, every kink in my argument is ironed out. The pay-off of doing it this way is that the writing process is short and easy – a case of joining up the dots, polishing bullet-points into sentences – much better than coming up with ideas and organising thoughts at the same time as finding the words to express them.
I found this extremely helpful when writing. I want to be able to write college level work, and it did work. I have gotten really high grades on my essays when I read this.
Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately it is difficult for us to advise you on your particular essay, but we have a large collection of essay-writing and study skills articles on the ORA website that may be of use to you. Hopefully you can find something that can help you in the following articles:
I have improved my grades drastically when I started reading books that speak most to my authentic self. I do not just read on any topics. I select the ones of particular interest to me. I find this very helpful in learning how to write better.
Before you even start planning an essay, I’d recommend you sit down and have a quick think about how you want to do it. First, what resources will you need? The internet, or library books? This might affect where and how you decide to work: I have wasted a huge amount of time trying to find versions of articles on the internet that I were in books at the library, or procrastinating because I wanted to work at home rather than leaving the house. I would recommend taking yourself to a library ninety-nine times out of a hundred.
The good news, on the other hand, is that the individual skills required to write a strong essay are things you can learn, practise and improve in. This article is all about pinpointing what those skills might be, and giving you some suggestions as to how you might develop them. Not all these tips will work for all of you, but being good at essay writing, like being good at any other school-related discipline, is all about trying different things, and devising your own way of doing things.
Some teachers set reading lists for essays, or make suggestions about where students should look for information; others ask you to find sources yourself. Even if your teacher does prescribe reading, it’s always worth seeing whether you can find something extra that will add breadth, depth or a fresh perspective to your argument. However, it’s important to think carefully about whether a source is reliable and valuable.
– Newspaper articles: might be useful evidence for an essay in History, but may not be detailed or scholarly enough for Biology. If you use a newspaper article or opinion piece, think about the factors that might bias it and include your thinking in your essay!
The likelihood is that at some point in the not-too-distant future (unless you are both incredibly reluctant and startlingly resourceful) you will have to write an essay, either in exam conditions or in your own time, that will count towards a final grade in some way. If this is a scary prospect for you, there’s good news and bad news. The bad thing about essay writing is that it’s not something – like French verbs, or the ability to run long distances – that miraculously gets better on its own if you just keep having a go. To , students often need a paradigm shift: to figure out exactly what isn’t working, and why, and to learn and apply a new way of doing things.
– Wikipedia: a very useful starting-point, and an increasingly reliable resource. However, avoid referencing it: a teacher or examiner might not like it and may take against your essay. Instead, look at the reference section at the bottom of the article and see where the writer has gathered their information from.
Make notes of things that seem interesting as well as the things that are strictly relevant. You want to be sure you but that interesting comment will often work its way into your essay and you don’t want to waste ages searching for it.
It might feel like the world’s greatest faff, but taking good notes from your sources will save you a huge amount of time when you come to plan and write your essay: