Tips for Succeeding at Essays
James Neill, Last updated: 26 Dec 2002


1. Act Now – Kill Procrastination: Don’t make excuses, procrastination is the surest road to failure, force yourself to get underway and stay underway.


2. Write Notes, Notes and More Notes – Make copious notes and then review them thoroughly before planning and writing your essay.  The best essays are usually prepared from a large body of notes.


3. A Quick & Dirty Draft is Better than No Draft – Once you have your notes, plan a purpose and structure, then in one sitting write a quick and dirty first draft.  This is much better than sitting on a partial draft.


4. Don’t Warm Up Your Engine – write a captivating essay from the first sentence; too many writers warm their engine up for too many pages.


5.  Powerful is Simple – Don’t show off when you write - it doesn’t impress anybody.  Give your writing power by putting complex ideas into simple language.


6. Don’t Assume You Know; Look It Up – Is what you are saying really true?  If you aren’t sure then, for heaven’s sake, research the truth and reference it.


7. Don’t Avoid the Holes – if you avoid the weak points in your argument, it will be all too obvious.  Address the weaknesses in your argument as well as the strengths.


8. Miracles come through Hard Work, not Inspiration – Fantastic writing is achieved via hard work; groovy ideas are helpful, but not sufficient; remember the formula for success - % inspiration and 99% perspiration.


9. Make Your Viewpoint Clear – Leave the reader in no doubt whatever as to your unique point of view.


10. Persevere – The difference between a successful people and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack knowledge, but rather a lack of will.