How I discovered a new way to write

I just finished my final essay for my summer class in British Lit. Usually essay writing is a stressful process for me. I wait and wait until the last minute and then stay up all night writing and wondering why I waited so long. This time, I did still wait to get started, but I had a good reason to do so. After 6 years of attending university classes, both undergraduate and graduate, I finally figured out how to write an academic paper!

The structure of my papers in the past was always weak. Having a poor foundation made writing much harder. As I was reading articles to use as sources for my summer class paper, I started noticing a repeating pattern in structure that my papers never had. It seemed like the articles I was reading only talked about one source at a time, as if the organization of their paper was based not linearly, not plot-driven, but by what other people have said about a novel or idea. This was a revelation.

I always thought that my papers would be most effective if I wrote about novels in the same sequence as the events in the novel (e.g. Mary comes home, then she makes dinner, then she goes to bed). But these authors, these published and professional writers, were doing things differently (e.g. Mary makes dinner, then she goes to bed, then she comes home). What was more astounding was that I could still follow the important points of the articles despite the events they were discussing being out of order.

I modeled my own paper after this structure. I am pleased and excited to say that using this structure helped me cut my overall essay writing time in half.

All writers, even professionals, draw inspiration from somewhere. I needed help with structure, and found inspiration in essays with a structure I have never tried before. What do you need to improve in your writing? Try finding a good example of what you would like to improve, and experiment with new strategies based on your examples.

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1 Comment »

  • Julianne Candio-Sekel says:

    I think there are two really important points here. For one, organizing your ideas can be extremely difficult. This is why prewriting is so essential to my own writing process. Secondly, I think your response speaks to our September blog topic, which is related to how we read with an acknowledgement that we are writers. This is exactly what you are describing here.. You started noticing a pattern in how professional writers construct their critical work and you decided to give it a test drive. I like that. That’s exactly what I was trying to describe in my September post. Whether I successfully did that is another story…


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