For many students out there English is a difficult subject. It’s not because essays are hard to write. In fact, an outline (i.e. MLA formatted outline) used properly can make an essay easily doable. Add some editing and proofreading to the mix, along with a bit of MLA formatting, and you have English teachers throwing praise at you the way they praise authors who died decades upon decades ago. The issue with essay writing is that it is nearly impossible to tell if an essay is truly good beyond the rubric. This is because the value of writing is so subjective. Some readers are more interested in the content rather than its presentation, some vice versa. It is about knowing your audience, but sometimes even that is unclear. This is where the three most challenging aspects of essay writing come in: vocabulary, connection, and comedic timing (because what is life without a laugh?)
With flowery, dramatic vocabulary, a dismal, monotonous essay can be reborn as a sensational, magnificent piece of modern literature. Doth thee not believeth me? Take Shakespeare’s Hamlet for example; to say that Hamlet was considering taking his own life would have been simple enough, but William had the right idea. “To be, or not to be: that is the question:” This quote has been repeated for centuries upon centuries: the drama really does pay off! While Hamlet was a piece of creative writing, there is still something to learn from Shakespeare within the realm of academic writing: you aren’t going to be remembered for following the same rules as everyone else. Shakespeare is credited with the invention of over 1,700 words that are still used in the English language today! Sometimes being a little extra is OK. Sometimes your eye-catching, soul-stirring, hair-raising word choice will get you more places than you may have initially thought.
Providing a personal connection can make or break an essay. This doesn’t always mean providing a personal anecdote; the audience doesn’t even have to know it is there. Writing is always so much more meaningful when the author is passionate about it, and when they have a clear, thought-out opinion on their topic. That’s why personal essays, synthesis essays and opinion pieces are infinitely more engaging to read than written analyses, APA or MLA outlines, and reports.
Irony and comedic timing can always be used in essay writing. It is a common misconception that comedy has no place in academic writing. You don’t have to write a knock-knock joke to let your reader enjoy themselves. Within this very essay we have gotten away with joke dropping, over-casual language, and even some poorly written Shakespearean. As well as the use of flowery, dramatic vocabulary touched on the importance of flowery, dramatic vocabulary, a personal connection where the importance for the author to personally connect to their text was mentioned.
It is important to recognize that not everyone has the same strengths when it comes to writing an essay. Even though many people find the structure to be an easier thing, some may not feel the same. At day’s end, vocabulary, personal connections and comedic timing may not be the most difficult part of essay writing for everyone. But they are the backbone of writing style, which is something that is often very difficult to get a handle on. Even in academic writing, no two people will ever write the same exact essay on a topic, due to their unique style and creativity. Thus, all writing is creative writing. Take the risk, be different (because what is life without a little creativity?)