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How to making writing an essay less painful

Mackenzie Lewis


Let’s face it: very few people enjoy writing essays. However, as a college student, it is something you are undoubtedly going to have to do at some point, be it a research paper or reflection. As someone who both works for the writing center and is one of those few who does not mind writing essays, I thought I would offer three tips and tricks that make the whole process less unendurable for me, and hopefully for you as well.

The first thing I suggest doing when receiving an assigned essay is to figure out a way to manipulate the prompt to your advantage. By this, I mean take a look at your prompt and figure out a way to write about your topic in a way that will be most enjoyable for you. Remember, most essays involve you trying to prove a point. If the point you are trying to prove does not inspire you to write about it, then chances are you are not going to enjoy writing it at all.

Going off of this first idea, the second suggestion is to view writing your essay as having a discussion or debate with a friend. You are trying to get them to understand your point of view, but you need to have a solid explanation for your thoughts. Consider the point you are trying to make, list your reasonings for standing by that point, and then you have a general outline for your paper. Use each point as the subject for a paragraph and expand a point in each. By viewing your writing as a discussion with someone you enjoy talking to rather than just mindlessly typing away on a computer, it makes it easier to get your ideas out and your words flowing.

Finally, building off the last two tips, remember to use quotes to support your thoughts, not replace them. Quotes are incredibly beneficial when writing your essay because it is like saying, “Here is what I think and, look, somebody else can back me up on it.” However, many times when reading through papers at work, I notice that people’s voices tend to get swallowed up by quotes. So, yes, while quotes from someone else can help solidify your argument, your readers want to hear what you have to say about the topic, otherwise they would have just gone straight to Google and done their own research.

While these tips are not guaranteed to get you an A+ essay, they can make the process less arduous. But if none of these tips work for you and you still find yourself internally dying, just remember this: it is just one essay, not a determination of your whole intellect. You have made it through worse and you can make it through this too--you got this!

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