Part 1: The Basics of Essay Writing
It’s time to stop thinking about essays as school assignments; instead, use them as your personal avenue for self-expression.
An essay assignment can be tedious…or it can be magical once you see it as an opportunity to express your thoughts and emotions. Essays give you a tremendous amount of freedom – they can be based on a personal viewpoint on current issues, a detailed observation of people in your life, something completely fictional or a stylised combination of all these and more.
So how do you get started?
There are many different ways to approach an essay; start by choosing a topic that will be the main subject. It can be a person, an object or an event; no matter what you choose, remember that even a mundane, everyday topic can be transformed into a captivating essay if you can offer a different point-of-view.
If the topic is very familiar to you, start thinking about how you can bring it to life; if it’s a new area, it’s important for you to conduct some research first. Often, when you have trouble writing, it’s because you don’t have enough information to work with so don’t skip this step. In addition, doing research gives you the chance to offer your reader some useful or interesting information, which gives them incentive to continue reading.
Your essay for the Maybank Foundation-Perdana Leadership Foundation Writing & Photo Contest 2015 needs to reflect the theme “EMPOWERING YOUTH FOR A BETTER ASEAN” and address the subject matter: Leadership Lessons or Volunteerism, depending on your age group. When choosing a topic or subject for your essay, you need to find a youthful perspective to showcase the lives and activities of young people.
Everybody has a different approach to writing. You may prefer to just start and let the words flow or you may feel more comfortable with a detailed outline before you begin. Whichever works best for you, your essay needs to draw the reader in immediately so let’s start at the beginning…
Every essay needs an introduction. Just like meeting someone for the first time, you need to make the right first impression so that readers will continue reading. A bland introduction will only cause them to turn the page and read something else, so make your first words count and grab the reader’s attention.
Next, let the story unfold. Once you have their undivided attention, draw them into your essay with rich detail. If you find it difficult to do so, try to conduct more research on your topic. The more vividly you can describe things, the easier it will be for the reader to picture things and have a better understanding of what you are trying to say.
Lastly, end with a strong conclusion. This is the last thing that the reader will see, so your essay needs to close with something memorable.
A few things to remember:
- Avoid complicated words unless you know how to use them correctly; similarly, avoid technical terms unless they are relevant to the topic.
- Stay away from trite, over-used words or phrases as these are boring to read. This includes words such as ‘amazing’, ‘interesting’ and ‘awesome’, and phrases like “at the end of the day” and “in conclusion”.
- Don’t be afraid to make it personal – the best essays are unique in their individual viewpoint while conventional storylines are often predictable and thus less interesting for readers.
Submit your essay to the Maybank Foundation-Perdana Leadership Foundation Writing & Photo Contest 2015! Open to all Malaysians from 13-21 years. There are two age categories: 13-17 years with essays between 350-500 words and 18-21 years with essays between 750-1,000 words. Multiple entries are allowed; submit essays via the official online contest submission form found on www.MaybankPerdanaContest.com. For more information about the Perdana Leadership Foundation, visit www.MaybankPerdanaContest.com, or www.facebook.com/PerdanaLeadershipFoundation.