The end of the 2022-2023 school year has arrived. In terms of writing some of you may never write another essay again as you move forward from Hope. Others of you we may see next year at the Writing Center. Either way, you will be doing writing that may not give you the chance to have a Writing Tutor look it over. Here are some tips to becoming your own editor.
Don’t Argue Your Thesis
Your thesis is not arguable. Take your position and state it! Many students do this but seem cautious of other people’s opinions. Ex. Honey tastes good on croissants. Well, yes, but are you firm in that idea? Scholarly writing involves a demanding statement that proudly presents the reader of the writer’s position. A strong thesis is hard to argue with and any normal person would be hesitant to challenge a confident thesis. For example: Milton uses themes and the idea of a “Muse” that were already used by Spenser to declare his project within the prologues while still turning them to achieve his own purposes.
Sometimes when we think our best thoughts come at the end of a train of thought. Well, it’s not that different with writing! When you are writing your first draft you are simply putting words onto the page. You are hoping that by the end the paper will all come together. A conclusion wraps up the essay, therefore, it wraps up your ideas! Sometimes, our best thesis/idea comes at the end of our first drafts instead of at the beginning! Ctrl C Ctrl V that good idea up into your introduction paragraph! (This is not something that occurs during every essay writing, but there are times when your best ideas might not be at the beginning of your draft).
There are times in essays where they stakes of an argument are way too over the top. Yet, there are also times when the stakes are nonexistent. While our argumentative essays probably won’t bring about world change, we do need stakes. We need to do the work to allow people to engage with our writing and prove why the argument is necessary for today. Give your readers stakes to live by as they move forward, or at least to consider from time to time.
Oh flow. Almost every writer, of any kind, struggles with the flow of the topic they are engaging with. When you think the “flow” in your paper is off, the concern is probably centered around the thesis or the structure of the essay. To improve your flow you need to start by looking back at your thesis and asking yourself a few questions: Is this thesis actually arguable? Am I answering an analytical question? Can this thesis be discussed for the page limit I need to hit? After answering those questions you can pull the main points of each paragraph and place them into an outline form. Read those sentences, do they make sense together? Addressing these questions will help you in ensuring that your paper flows smoother than the Lake Michigan tide.
Empty Jar of Conclusion
The conclusion is an not the most important part of an essay, readers will arrive at the end of the paper and struggle for what to say. So, the hard part is over. Now you can sit back and relax a little. Bring your paper and its stakes to a close with some brief summary of the main ideas. Then, think of a snazzy way to end. It can be an engaging question, answering a question that your paper could spark, or a determined call to action!
As you go forth and write keep these tips in mind! Soon, being your own personal editor will come as second nature. Good luck and keep filling pages!