What Can He Teach?
‘Most of the time, students write essays only because they are required to do so by a classroom instructor. Thus, students come to believe that essays are important primarily to demonstrate their knowledge to a teacher or professor. This is simply, and dangerously, wrong (even though such writing for demonstration may be practically necessary).’ -Jordan b Peterson.
JP’s 10 Step Essay Writing Guide
When: Ideally, you need to write in the morning. When your brain is alert and fresh. Even better, eat something first. Great writers have always written every day, so write between 90 minutes and three hours. You’ll never get large chunks of time to write, so don’t wait for it.
Structure: A paragraph should present a single idea and comprise 10 sentences or 100 words. Pick the right word and the right sentence. Follow the rules, disregard them only if you’re a master—You won’t be. All paragraphs should be a progression to your final point. This won’t, of course, make your essay worthy by itself. It can still fail if it’s only creative and interesting but poorly constructed, or if it’s well constructed but dull and uninteresting.
Audience: Apart from the first five levels of resolution that JP mentions, he also explains parts six and seven, that is your reader and the culture. You shouldn’t be bored when writing your essay; you should write something witty and aesthetic that moves you and the reader. And finish it, because finished is ALWAYS better than perfect.
Writer’s Block: Reading clears writer’s block, and you’ll need to read a lot to write a good essay. Maybe 5-10 books or articles per 1000 word essay. List these sources.
Notes: Take two to three times more notes than you’ll need for your essay. Write the notes in your own voice with your own words. This will also help you understand what you’ve just read.
Outline: This is the ‘Skeleton’ of the essay. Write down the topic of your choice. Then how many words and pages. Now add 25% extra words. Finally, write 10 sentences per 1000 word essay of what questions you are asking about the topic. This is your argument.
Drafts: The first draft is rough and dirty (production). Just get it down. The second draft is for editing. Do these separate as they’ll interfere with each other. For the novice, use shorter sentences with words you would feel comfortable using in everyday speech. Rewrite each sentence until it flows and sounds as good as it can. Read it aloud if it helps. Once you’ve completed this edited 2nd draft and re-read it thoroughly, set it aside, and write ten more sentences of new outlines to add to your written argument. This is your third draft. As before, reorder the sentences until it glows and shines like a polished pebble.
References: Add a list of sources for quotes, facts, or information used. Don’t get bollocked for plagiarism.
Format: Your essay is now finished, well done. just format it with double-spacing, a title page, indent paragraphs, or sub-headings if required.
‘Writing extends your memory, facilities editing and clarifies your thinking’ -Jordan b Peterson