In order to do this, you need to be familiar with how to construct the basic building blocks of language, which means being able to write a grammatically correct sentence.
Once you have got your ideas in order, as described in ‘Getting reading to write’, you need to get down to writing.
It’s important to express yourself as clearly and succinctly as possible, but this may not come naturally.
We shall look at the former in this article and the latter in an article How to write more clearly – style.
Are you conscious when you write that your sentences are awkward and clumsy, that you sometimes have difficulty in conveying what you mean to say?
Montaigne's Autobiographical Essays"Although Michel de Montaigne, who fathered the modern essay in the 16th century, wrote autobiographically (like the essayists who claim to be his followers today), his autobiography was always in the service of larger existential discoveries. If he recounted the sauces he had for dinner and the stones that weighted his kidney, it was to find an element of truth that we could put in our pockets and carry away, that he could put in his own pocket.
After all, Philosophy — which is what he thought he practiced in his essays, as had his idols, Seneca and Cicero, before him — is about 'learning to live.' And here lies the problem with essayists today: not that they speak of themselves, but that they do so with no effort to make their experience relevant or useful to anyone else, with no effort to extract from it any generalizable insight into the human condition."(Cristina Nehring, "What’s Wrong With the American Essay." Truthdig, Nov.
An article is usually Siamese-twinned to its date of birth. (A necessary caveat: some genuine essays are popularly called 'articles' — but this is no more than an idle, though persistent, habit of speech. Relegated to the composition class, frequently dismissed as mere journalism, and generally ignored as an object for serious academic study, the essay has sat, in James Thurber's phrase, ' on the edge of the chair of Literature.'"In recent years, however, prompted by both a renewed interest in rhetoric and by poststructuralist redefinitions of literature itself, the essay — as well as such related forms of 'literary nonfiction' as biography, autobiography, and travel and nature writing — has begun to attract increasing critical attention and respect."(Richard Nordquist, "Essay," in "Encylopedia of American Literature", ed. Another is that the contemporary essay has for some time now been gaining energy as an escape from, or rival to, the perceived conservatism of much mainstream fiction..."So the contemporary essay is often to be seen engaged in acts of apparent anti-novelization: in place of plot, there is drift or the fracture of numbered paragraphs; in place of a frozen verisimilitude, there may be a sly and knowing movement between reality and fictionality; in place of the impersonal author of standard-issue third-person realism, the authorial self pops in and out of the picture, with a liberty hard to pull off in fiction."(James Wood, "Reality Effects." The New Yorker, Dec.
The Lighter Side of Essays: "The Breakfast Club" Essay Assignment"All right people, we're going to try something a little different today. Vernon)Saturday, March 24, 1984Shermer High School Shermer, Illinois 60062Dear Mr.
Houghton Mifflin, 1998)"I speak of a 'genuine' essay because fakes abound. An article often has the temporary advantage of social heat — what's hot out there right now. An article can be timely, topical, engaged in the issues and personalities of the moment; it is likely to be stale within the month. Continuum, 1999) The Contemporary Essay"At present, the American magazine essay, both the long feature piece and the critical essay, is flourishing, in unlikely circumstances..."There are plenty of reasons for this.
Here the old-fashioned term As the poetaster is to the poet — a lesser aspirant — so the average article is to the essay: a look-alike knockoff guaranteed not to wear well. In five years it may have acquired the quaint aura of a rotary phone. The enduring is the enduring.)"(Cynthia Ozick, "SHE: Portrait of the Essay as a Warm Body." The Atlantic Monthly, September 1998) The Status of the Essay"Though the essay has been a popular form of writing in British and American periodicals since the 18th century, until recently its status in the literary canon has been, at best, uncertain. One is that magazines, big and small, are taking over some of the cultural and literary ground vacated by newspapers in their seemingly unstoppable evaporation.