One thing I set out to do with this blog–that I have yet to do–is write a series of long-form essays about topics that intrigue me. Perhaps I’ve done a bit of that with my ‘Saturday Night Gaming’ series, but I’ve decided that now would be a good time to take a long look at what you–and I–should do before we venture onto writing a good and proper essay.
Just today, I read a wonderful essay at the back of Neuromancer, written by a fellow writer and a friend of the book’s author, William Gibson. What struck me was the excitement, the pure joy that these words radiated; so well were they crafted that I found myself nearly seduced to scroll back to the beginning of the book, and take an unforgettable journey into cyberspace all over again.
Excitement, then, is the most important building block, the one to use as foundation for your essays. When you’re excited about a given topic, it shows; ideas come more easily, they seamlessly flow on the page (or on the text processor), and most importantly, excitement translates through language with ridiculous ease!
Writing essays is about your views; so make sure to crystalize those. Before writing a review, essay, or blog post, I take a pen and paper and scribble the clearest points in my mind. Then, while I’m writing, I will often glance towards that piece of paper, and make sure that I’m presenting my core arguments in a clear, understandable way. Clarity is of such enormous importance to any piece of writing and essays are no different.
And how about the importance of research? Might be a bore when you’re writing a book, but if you’re looking for factual information to help strengthen your essay, it really shouldn’t be a problem. I take a long time to read up on studios, developers and development processes of the different games I write/make videos about, and it’s always far more entertaining than frustrating. Finding information about the things you love is downright inspirational, in fact–and no surprise there!
Having cold, hard facts on your side will also help with your confidence; all you have to do, then, is present them well and proper!
Yet another good idea is to use pictures or any other kind of visual media to help accentuate–or showcase–whatever it is you’re writing an essay about. I could do well in this particular aspect, myself; admittedly, many of the posts on my blog lack any kind of visual aspect at all.
In my defense, I am way too distracted by my writing to have the time for pictures!
A last piece of advice–and this is for writing in general, but I feel compelled to repeat it–proofread before you go live! No one enjoys silly, quick-to-remove mistakes or sloppy grammar, punctuation and so on, and so forth.
I’m not claiming mastery when it comes to writing essays–on writing anything, for that matter–but these are a few guiding points which will be helpful for anyone who, like me, is interested in exploring this particular medium further.
I’ll get back to this topic someday, when I have greater experience with essay-writing. For now, thank you for reading, and I’m looking forward to next time!
Being well-versed in the essay-writing business, as you well know, I came ready to derail this post. But I have no such luck. Good advice, as usual, especially the bit about excitement. That’s something most essayists completely forget about after a time, so I’m glad you put such emphasis on it. Thanks for such a good read!
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I am always happy to oblige 😛
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