An Essay About Essays

I’ve always had a bit of trouble when it comes to writing essays. I always feel like I wind up running out of steam and forcing myself to meet requirements. I don’t always struggle though, I think it mostly comes down to the topic, and how comfortable I am with the subject matter. I’ve found that most essays fall into two categories, ones that require research and ones that require personal experience, and each of those come with their own positives and negatives.

If I had to pick which one I consider myself better at, I’d have to go with research based essays. When it comes to writing based on research, I find myself writing more naturally. I never have trouble figuring out where my essay is going to go when I write based on research, because these essays follow a sort of map. They’re based around a specific structure, which I find makes it easier to write because I get to check things off of a sort of checklist. I like having this “roadmap” of sorts which lets me know that I’m making progress and encourages me to keep working. I think this is so effective for me writing my essays, because I sometimes struggle with procrastination. Sometimes, I just can’t force myself to write, even though I know I need to. With the “roadmap” that comes with a research based structure, I’m able to keep myself motivated and keeping on pace with the essay.

I found opinion pieces that rely on personal experiences to be the hardest to write. I think there’s a multitude of reasons for this, but the main one for me is that the structure is entirely up to the writer to decide. I often worry about where I’m going to take my essay because there isn’t the same sort of structure that can be found when dealing with argumentative research writing. I consider myself a creative person, but I don’t necessarily know if an essay is the right avenue in which to express creativity. I think an essay’s strength lies in the professionalism in which it is presented. Essays are typically used as a way to express your own opinions, but there isn’t really much wiggle room when it comes to the language, and the writing style used. Essays reward well written, thoughtful responses and straying from the expectations is usually for the worse, and could lead to your intentions falling flat.

A specific essay I can remember having trouble trying to write was the one I wrote and submitted to the colleges that I applied to. The essay’s topic was very open ended, just asking something along the lines of “what is something you’re interested in, that has inspired you in life”. I remember seeing this prompt as being very intimidating as I felt like there were so many ways in which I could tackle it. I wanted to represent myself both accurately and academically. I wanted to show myself positively and put my true self out there, but I also felt like all my interests would be seen as unimpressive in the eyes of the colleges. I finally decided to write about music and the way in which it’s influenced me in my life. I chose to discuss the friends I’ve made through music as well as the experiences I’ve had at concerts. 

As I progress through college as an English major, I’ve gotten more and more comfortable when it comes to writing essays. The more and more literary courses I took, it almost became a necessity to be skilled at essay writing. At any point in the semester I could’ve been working on as many as four essays at one time. It wasn’t exactly sink or swim, but you’d definitely be struggling if you didn’t learn the best ways to craft essays. Even though I still have insecurities when it comes to my essay writing, I still feel as though I’m improving every semester, and that I’ve yet to do my best work.

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