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Writing Essays with Creativity
 
 

Writing Essays with Creativity


The term "essay" tends to bring to mind thoughts of college term papers on obscure subjects such as 17th century baroque art. However, the form goes far beyond academia and includes some of the 20th century's greatest observational wits. If you want to read some of these, check out works by E.B. White, Bertrand Russell, Art Buchwald, James Thurber, or Dorothy Parker.
The essay is short enough to make a point quickly and economically, granting readers concise, well-considered insights into every subject imaginable. So writing these keeps a writer sharp and quick on his literary feet, with a chance to shine as a sage or visionary.

The fun part of writing an essay is to give substance to your thoughts. The essay gives you the chance to make sense of a subject and give it life. The two basic purposes of creating an essay are to inform or persuade. Beyond this, the writer may provide a laugh or solidify opinion and unity around current issues.

Essays that Inform

Writing to provide information focuses mainly on the subject being discussed. This type of informative writing can be found in many venues. Textbooks and scientific journals, along with newspapers and magazines, publish this genre to inform the reader. The goal here is to educate, rather than persuade. How you present the material, ideally as clearly as possible, will give readers information they did not already know. Boring? Readers will eagerly devour current and useful information on topics such as real estate, financial matters and investing, new scientific research and discoveries, technology, and anything they can use. The writer's job is to spend the time needed to get the important facts and get them straight so that the reader can relax and reap the rewards of timely, useful information. Creatively, you are a workhorse doing the information chores, so audiences do not have to.

Essays that Persuade

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Another type of essay-writing is to persuade the reader about a matter of opinion. The writer wants to influence the reader to change his or her mind, similar in most people's minds to moving a mountain. This can be a challenge because the writer has to offer convincing support for a point of view. You must provide evidence that lends strength to an argument, and most adult readers already hold strong opinions. This can be fun if you enjoy writing editorials or letters to the editor. Other forms of persuasive writing are found in sermons, research proposals, and political opinion essays. It is fun to create an essay that can change someone's mind if you are able to build a strong foundation to turn the tide.
One important aspect of good writing of this type is to understand your intended audience. Write to the intended age group and to its level of knowledge. Be careful when you want to throw in technical or specialized vocabulary if your target audience is the general public. Be specific and do not talk down to people who may know more than yourself. It is easy to look foolish if you do not do your homework as a writer of essays.

Another important element is the tone of what you are writing. What you say and how you say it connect you to the reader, so the tone, or your writer's voice, needs to be in keeping with what you are trying to say. Many essayists excel at personal, warm, and intimate memoirs and observations. Garrison Keillor of Lake Woebegon fame is a great example of a modern writer who does this well. You feel at home with his humor, and the people he describes with such tender, loving care seem real, like others we may have known. This is a creative writer's dream of being loved himself, giving the gift of his personal view of life to many, and drawing close to the warm heart of humanity.

A big lesson to learn is that writing is really a process. Any piece of work takes time to create and shape. The biggest hurdle is just to sit down and begin to focus on what you want to say. A lot of writers go to great lengths to persuade themselves and others that their little bag of tricks is better than that of others. However, when it comes time to really produce something, their little sack is full mostly of their own egos. So you need to be real and get started with a first draft. You will go through a lot of changes, but that is good because with each step you will produce something worth reading. Remember that unless you are writing about yourself, even though you may use a lot of florid style and wit, keep your own personality in the background and focus on your topic to avoid the persona of arrogance. Your writer's voice is a conduit and a channel, not the main course.

Essay Writing Process:

Let us quickly look at the process of building an essay. You can visualize the different elements like a train. The first train car is the planning and the shaping. You are basically going over what you want to write in your mind and reaching down into that well of material you will need to draw from. Make an outline of key points, or things you want to describe, as if they were an inventory of the cargo of each train car.

The next step is to begin the drafting process. This is the "writing it down" part, if only so you do not see your thoughts vanish into the thin air. Revising and rewriting is another step along the way. This allows you to make changes and corrections as needed so the project will begin to have some teeth and perhaps authority. This is also the fun part, though, because you now have the skeleton and can start to build the strong, flexible muscles, like a fine suit of clothes on a clothes hanger.

The last stage is in the editing and the proofreading. The essay should ideally be given to someone else, an editor, for input, so you can get a feeling for where you have been going. Do not be afraid to share your pearls of wisdom with an outside person. It really helps to get another person's thoughts and, one hopes, constructive criticism. Do not write in a vacuum.

Your choice of words is, of course, important to the body of work you are creating. Remember that writing for yourself and writing for an audience have certain differences. Keeping the language lively is good, but it can be jarring when the mood is serious. Keep it real all the way through and keep the tone steady with a strong foundation. Your creative essay is like a well thought-out statement, a milestone marker of your thought life, and a point of reference for readers seeking enlightenment and relief. You can provide all of this by remembering that what you write is also what you think, and no one wants false or ruinous opinions about anything.

The essay is a great way to get your feet wet in the writing process. The writer can create a sweetly insightful piece and feel good about the results. These are not overwhelming projects but still have a place in our hopes to communicate ideas we may hold dear. Do not miss out on your creative writing satisfaction by neglecting this form.

 
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