Barbara Jean Writes

write a smart essay


Writing a smart essay means several things. It means you pick a topic that you already know something about. It also means you pick a topic that you yourself find very interesting, so that the writing and the reading you are going to do about your topic will not become boring. You cannot expect your reader to get excited about your paper if you are not excited about your paper. For this lecture, I am going to discuss writing research type of academic essays. Remember you can add research to any essay and I cannot imagine trying to write a paper without quoting. Quoting gives you someone to dialogue with in argumentative papers, and it gives everything you say authenticity because then your ideas are underscored and supported by specialists in the field of your topic. I also recommend you have the following materials if you want to do this right. Brightly colored highlighters that will show up well on messy printouts of newspaper and journal articles where the ink always looks blurry and some high energy juices and snacks around. You will also need access to a printer or go to the library and do your research. Let’s get started.

Talk to Your Reader


Most students make the fatal mistake of thinking their essays need to sound really “highbrow, uber-intelligent, and super-academic” and that voice is simply not your own and you will not be able to stay within that persona long comfortably—and if you cannot maintain that voice and persona, halfway through your paper you will begin to lose your enthusiasm for it. So write in your own voice. Talk to your reader as you would a highly intelligent, highly informed friend. Some of the best essays I have received from students are ones in which the student has not only written in their own voice but ones in which they really talked to the reader from their heart, as well. For example, one of the best essays I received from a student was on his high hopes for laying laminate flooring himself and the letdown he experienced when he realized he had way over-estimated his own abilities.

Use a Quote to Get You Started

Sometimes a great quote is all you need to launch an essay. For example, Researchers note that “Global warming is destroying the polar ice caps. Soon, we are going to begin losing precious animals like polar bears.” In fact, researchers report that polar bears may become extinct by 2035.

Use Quotes in Closings


In closings, the trick is to bring the paper into the very present moment of the composition. For example, you can say something like Just yesterday, researchers reported that “IF left unchecked, the polar ice caps could be destroyed by the year 2050.” I think the fact that are planet is in major trouble is becoming very obvious to everyone.

Make a Quote Outline

One great method, is, after you gather all your research, begin cutting and pasting or retyping the into a blank piece of paper. You place the quotes where they would normally fall in a research paper—the introduction, body evidence paragraphs, and the closing paragraph, for example. Move these quotes around until you can “hear” a real paper emerging. Now all you have to do is the writing “around” the quotes.

Make Sure to Introduce Quotes With Style and Grace

Great quote introductions are, Yesterday, scientists noted that “...“ Or Researchers note that, “Quote.”


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