Hello hello hello! We’re so happy to see you here on LTBL!
I’m Introverted Thoughts aka D and today I’m going to talk about how I write essays/articles for my blog. This is by no means the best or only way to write them, this is merely my take and how I go about it.
#1 Deciding on the Subject
This is pretty self-explanatory but deciding on a subject and feeling in sync with it is incredibly important to making sure the write-up turns out the best possible way. I usually choose topics I’m learning more about or those that are relevant to the times. A few of my common criteria for choosing a topic include – non-offensive subjects, age appropriate topics and informative.
Pretty much most of the time, I’m far from being an expert on the subject matter. So I turn to Google. I visit several sites and read those that are from verified sources. I mark the sentences I think are relevant to my essay and copy-paste it to a Google doc. I repeat this on atleast 8-9 sites and by the time I’m done, I have a doc flooding with disordered and unorganised information that has been copied word for word from several sites.
Once I feel like I have all the information I need, I order this copied info, grouping several like points together, making sure there is a distinct, structured and sensible flow of information with a clear start and end. For example, if I was writing about a 16th century poet, the essay would likely begin with the poet’s birth and not his death. This is also what takes me the longest while, since I prefer reading over the whole write every time I add a point to a group to ensure the flow.
The flow is very important. It helps the reader connect points and helps them arrive at a plausible conclusion the same time you present yours. It’s all about providing a comprehensible and fun reading and learning experience.
Once the structuring is done, I go to google again and search for any news articles that could potentially supplement my write. Most often, I usually include statistical results from news articles more than factual ones. Once I add the stats to the right place, I begin the next step.
Paraphrasing is the rephrasing of sentences to avoid plagiarism and copyright issues. It is also essential to keep your essay to an optimal word count and aids redundancy in terms of repeated information and unnecessary words. I usually try to keep my articles and essays less than 2000 words and cramp as much information as I possibly can in the most clean and structured manner. My compiled information is almost always at the 7000 – 7500 words mark, and after paraphrasing, I get it down to less than 2000.
Paraphrasing can take a while. There are plenty of sites that do this for free but I’d recommend against using them. While they do the job for you, the results often feel forced and impersonal. It’s important that you dissect the information and decide the best possible way to phrase it for the most effective comprehension. Paraphrasing manually also gives you the freedom to choose your words depending on your audience.
As weird as that sounds, making your writes look neat and pretty is just as important. Most readers tend to respond to visual proof more strongly than to its verbal counterpart. I tend to use free stock images for all my writing but if you have your own images pertaining to the subject, feel free to use that. Use images in regular intervals. I tend to insert an image or a graph after every 2/3 paragraphs to avoid the article/essay from looking too crowded.
As I keep saying, structure and the flow of information is crucial. Use headings and sub-headings, bullet points, lists etc. whatever you can to present your information in the most comprehensive way possible.
Punctuation is your friend. Use commas, periods, hyphens and semi-colons as perfectly as you can. They give your writing a clean form, a structured sound and a sensible form of conveying information. If you’re not sure about your use of these amazing marks, use Grammarly. Grammarly is a trusty resource when it comes to correcting, checking and inserting punctuation marks.
Often, by the time I’m done with my article/essay, I’d have already read the entire essay alteast 20+ times, the majority of those fall in the compiling process. No matter how confident you feel, do a proofread and ask a friend to do it too. It’s always a good idea to get an opinion from someone who’s reading all of it for the first time unless you need to keep it a secret which isn’t too probable a scenario in the case of an essay/article.
Read through the essay slowly, from a stranger’s perspective to understand how your work appears to someone else, digest the information presented, evaluate the coherency of your paragraphs, the flow of information and the effectiveness of those good old punctuation marks.
#6 Citing your Sources
This is the last but an extremely important step. Mention your sources, let your readers know where you got your information from. Not only is this a way to maintain transparency on your part as a writer, but is also a way to express your gratitude in a polite manner to the sites you sourced your information from. Besides this is also an invitation to the reader to explore more on said topic at their own pace. I usually add a ‘Referred Sources‘ section at the end of my posts, and link back to the specific articles I used.
Once you’re satisfied, your essay/article is ready for the world (or a teacher) to see!
Thank you for reading! I hope you found this helpful!
What’s one thing you always take care to do in an essay/article?
D is a teen blogger @ Random Specific Thoughts who loves reading, drawing and anything Science. She adores poetry and enjoys writing essays and creative non-fiction as well!