When you hear the word “ESSAY,” what comes to mind? If you’re like a lot of students, you might think pain. Boredom. Tedium. Sheer misery. Rarely does the word “fun” come to mind.
I get it. There are all sorts of reasons that you might hate writing an essay.
Maybe writing just isn’t your thing, and you’re a numbers person who would rather solve complex equations and move around numbers rather than letters. Or maybe you’re a hands-on kind of person who would rather do something far more physical than moving your fingers across a keyboard.
Whatever your reason(s) for not particularly enjoying writing, the hard truth of the matter is that, if you’re a student, you’re going to have to write essays (and lots of them) before you graduate.
So if you have to write an essay, why not make it a little more fun, right?
5 Hacks to Make Writing an Essay Way More Fun
There are those of us who love nothing more than to sit down in front of our computer, or go old-school with a pen and notebook, and start writing.
But let’s face it, even to the writers of the world, writing an assigned essay about the impact of, say, Camel cigarette ads may not always be what we want to write about, either.
Sometimes even writing lovers need to find a way to make writing an essay more enjoyable.
Maybe you’re a writer who loves to tell a good story but hates research papers. Maybe you’re a student who needs a way to make writing an essay a little less painful. Or maybe you just can’t stand writing and are looking for any way to get through another paper.
Whatever brought you here, check out these tips to make writing an essay way more fun.
#1: Have a positive attitude
Attitude is everything. If you go to a movie and think it’s going to be terrible, there’s a good chance that you will try to find any tiny little flaw just to prove you were right.
If, on the other hand, you go into a movie with an open mind and a positive attitude, you might be surprised at how good the movie is and how much you actually enjoy the experience.
The same is true for writing essays.
Don’t automatically assume that because you hated analyzing poetry three years ago that you’ll hate it this time around. Give it a chance. You might find that The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a lot more interesting than you originally thought.
If you’re more pessimistic and a positive attitude about writing is about as common as a cool, refreshing stream in the desert, try a few motivation techniques.
For instance, you might create a chart to break down larger writing assignments into manageable chunks. Check off each step as you move through the writing process. This will help you visualize your progress and help you stay motivated.
This strategy also helps you look at the positive aspects of completing your essay. Let’s say you struggled with finding a topic for your research paper, but you finally decided that you’d write about the history of camels as a mode of transportation in the desert.
Don’t feel pessimistic about the fact that you still have to actually write the paper. Celebrate your accomplishment!
Reward yourself with a treat, like watching an extra episode of Orange Is the New Black. (Note that I said an “extra” episode. Don’t slack and binge-watch entire seasons.)
#2: Take any topic and make it fun
I know there are times when your prof assigns a topic (like an analysis of the climate on campus given the college president’s resignation), and like it or not, you have to write about it.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t find a way to make the topic more fun to write about.
For instance, if you have the opportunity to write a light-hearted piece, you might write about how the food service workers really liked the president, and now that she’s gone, sadness lingers in the air. Even the pizza tastes like sadness. Life in the dining hall just isn’t the same.
If you need to write a more serious analysis, consider an aspect that hits close to home.
If the president’s resignation directly affects the football team and you’re the star quarterback of the team, then you have an obvious personal connection. You’ll have more fun writing about the topic simply because you’re interested in it.
Try a fun and unique approach to the topic by writing about how the search for a president is like a search for a coach. Consider which personality characteristics they have in common and what jobs skills both need to be successful at their jobs.
#3: Create a writing ritual
Our lives are full of all sorts of rituals that we look forward to. These are the rituals that just make life more fun, like getting an iced coffee after spin class or grabbing a burger every Thursday after karate.
Who says you can’t do the same with writing?
If you enjoy a long walk in the woods, through your neighborhood, or on the treadmill, schedule a writing walk. Then use the time to do some thinking and planning for your paper.
Maybe you need a little mood music to help you write your masterpiece. Create a writing playlist of some favorite tunes to spark some creativity—and only listen to it while you write.
Perhaps you love smoothies. Choose essay-writing time to enjoy your favorite berry blast smoothie. This way you’ll associate writing an essay with getting to have a cool, refreshing berry delight.
Interested in reading more about writing rituals? Read A Devotion to Writing Rituals.
#4: Make it a game
You might think that playing games with your grades is definitely not fun, but don’t shoot this idea down just yet. Remember, we’re keeping an open mind here.
Let’s say you do like games, and you do like challenges. Think about games you play to win badges. Your goal is to accomplish a specific task or reach a designated score.
Try it with essay writing.
Challenge yourself to write a specific number of words each hour or each day, set a goal of locating a certain number of sources for your research paper before a chosen time of day. Or challenge yourself to write an awesome thesis statement in 20 words or less.
If you’re even more competitive, challenge your friends. (The loser, of course, buys iced coffees or burgers.)
#5: Write like a kid again
When I say “write like a kid again,” I don’t mean that your writing should sound like a third-grader wrote your essay. I mean that you should let loose and have some fun creating it.
Reach back to those techniques to help you have more fun with essay writing.
Here are a few suggestions to bring the fun back to writing an essay:
- If you love crafts, why not create an outline or draft paragraphs by hand on pretty scrapbooking paper? You can literally cut, paste, and move sections around to help you see how ideas connect. This strategy also works great if you prefer hands-on activities. (You can skip the pretty paper if you like.)
- If you’re business-minded and love to immerse yourself in numbers and spreadsheets, then create charts, tables, or graphic organizers to plan your essay. The structure of these types of tools might even make you forget (at least for a moment) that you’re working with letters rather than numbers.
- If you live for social media, why not make writing a social process? Talk to your friends about your writing ideas, or let them help you with revision. You might even create an entire series of Instagram photos about your writing experiences. Ask your friends to participate too. After all, they’re busy writing the same types of essays!
Let the Fun Begin
Are you feeling a little more energized about your upcoming essay and now realize that writing can be fun?
Okay, maybe it won’t be as fun as playing your favorite video game or going to see your favorite band live. But hopefully, you realize now that writing an essay doesn’t have to be all pain and drudgery, either.
One final tip: Before you start writing, don’t forget to plan ahead. Planning ahead means starting your essay well before the due date. This will alleviate a lot of stress. (It’s more fun if you’re less stressed, right?)
Planning ahead also means saving time to let someone else (like a Kibin editor) provide feedback to help you make sure your paper makes the grade.
Have fun, and good luck with your essay!