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Dealing with common struggles when writing an essay

The first part of any paper is understanding your assignment and what is expected of you. If you don’t understand what is expected of you, then you will end up wasting a great deal of time heading down the wrong path, only to have to turn around and come back. Do not be afraid to ask your teacher if there is some element to your paper that you don’t understand. Only by having a clear understanding of your task will you be able to focus on the other components of your paper, such as selecting your topic.

When you are assigned an essay, any kind of essay, you will encounter one of the things. Either your teacher will give you a list of topics from which to choose, topics that the teacher has already deemed worthy, or you will be asked to pick a topic on your own. Many times, when writing a particular style of essay for the first time, a teacher will provide one topic or a handful of topics from which students can choose.

If you are asked to select a topic on your own, you might find that the topic you want to write about does not fit within the parameters of your project. If this is the case, you can respectfully approach your teacher and explain the topic you have in mind, asking if it is possible for the assignment. Sometimes the teacher will approve, and other times they won’t. Remember though, that if they don’t approve it is because they know that your knowledge of a particular writing process is limited and they might want to ensure you familiarize yourself with the topic with the suggestions they have provided.

When you are asked to pick a topic yourself, do not be anxious. Instead, look at it as an opportunity. This is a chance for you to practice becoming an expert researcher. Start thinking early too.

  • The sooner you consider a topic for your paper, the better.
  • Brainstorming is a great way for students to come up with paper ideas. Seeing your writing is often the start of the writing process and brainstorming can benefit you in narrowing your topic down as well. You might find that your list has a pattern, or your bullet points have consistency that reflects upon the topic your mind has already selected.
  • More often than not, a topic will stand out in your mind without you realizing it.

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