Writing essays is an easy skill to master.
Here is one specific way to quickly learn to write essays.

There are five stages to writing an Essay.
Each one is vital

1. Planning the content
2. Planning the argument
3. Writing the content
4. Writing the conclusion
5. Writing the introduction

Planning the content

The content or body of your essay can be to:

* Entertain
* Persuade
* Inform

Choose one or decide which is most important. This will help you focus.

Then develop a thesis statement or argument.
This is one sentence, a statement, that states what your essay will prove.
The key points are:

* It must be in the active voice
* It must be a positive statement
* It must be one sentence
* If you don't understand your thesis, it's unlikely anyone else will

Examples are:

Cats are better than dogs
Drunk drivers should be driven over
English should be abolished in schools

I choose "Cats are better than dogs" as my topic

Then you need develop 3 - 10 main supporting ideas

Use a mind map or Brain storming techniques to develop your most important points.

My 5 main points are:

1. Cats are independent
2. Cats are clean
3. Cats bury their excrement
4. Cats kill vermin
5. Cats don't lick you

The most important things to remember are:

* Each mainpoint must reinforce your argument
* Each mainpoint must be simple
* Each mainpoint must be linked to the main idea

Then rank or order your mainpoints
This you can do:

* From weakest to strongest - Builds your argument
* From serious to funny or vice versa
* Alternatively for shock effect or comic relief

The way you rank your points will lend a particular attitude to your essay.

My ranking is:

1. Cats are clean
2. Cats don't lick you
3. Cats bury their excrement
4. Cats kill vermin
5. Cats are independent

I have done this for comic effect

Then chose 3-5 points that reinforce or backup your argument. Write them down in short interesting sentences

My examples for cats are clean is:

* Cats don't roll in the dirt
* Cats wash after every meal
* Cats don't trail mud through the house


* Each proof must reinforce your argument
* Each proof must link to the main point
* Each proof must be true or substantial

Then write out each main point with its proofs in the form of a paragraph

My first paragraph will go something like this:

Cats are clean and hygenic animals. They don't rush out when you open the door and roll in some frightfully sticky, smelly poo. Even better, is the way that they choose their favourite chair and carefully wash themselves after every meal. My children don't even do this. Also, unlike children, cats don't trail tons of mud through the house. They lick it off their feet before they come inside. This is frightfully civilised.

Then carefully link your first paragraph to your second paragraph.

You do this by using a "hook sentence"
This is a sentence that logically joins paragraph one to paragraph two whilst supporting the main argument of the essay and linking the main points.

It works like this.

My last sentence in paragraph one is " This is frightfully civilised"

My first sentence in paragrah two must combine this with my main point from paragraph two, which is "Cats don't lick you"

How about: "Even though cats clean themselves, they are also civilised enough to understand that they are not to lick people"

This links the idea of "civilised cleanliness" from one to the idea of "civilised society not licking each other" in two.

Now you do the steps for paragraph one for paragraph two and then make a hook sentence for paragraph three, etc, etc until you have completed the content or body of your essay.

Now stop.
Put your essay away for a day.
Read your essay again and you will immediately see its weaknesses and mistakes.
Correct them.
Your mind will also have had a break and be fresh to critically analyze the essay content.
You can repeat this step as often as you like or until a deadline looms.
This it why it is vital not to leave essays until the last minute.

Now you have an essay.

It now needs and introduction and a conclusion.

Your introduction will:

* Make the reader want to read on or trash/ignore/bore your reader.
* Convey the sense of your argument and help convince the reader.
* Sum up the argument of the essay.
* Prove to the reader that you know what you are talking about.
* Show that you are organized and professional

Your conclusion will:

* Reinforce the main points of your essay
* Place the essay in a wider context
* Reinforce the main argument or thesis of your essay
* Possibly be the only thing that the reader remembers

Another vital thing to know is that examiners under pressure will pay particular attention to your introduction and conclusion and how it connects to the rest of the essay.

So.........................................How do you conclude?

* Force the reader back to your main thesis by restating it
* Summarize your best main key points by stating them again in different words

Cats are clean = Cats have great personal hygiene
Cats don't lick you = Cats keep there personal habits to themselves
* Then show how this is relevant to the reader an the implications this has for society. In other words, why should the reader remember your essay, or what action should they take?

This is a sort of pyramid system,
Where you start of with a highly specific thesis statement,
reinforce it again in different words and
then show the reader what to do with your essay.

1) Restate Your Main Thesis.
Cats superiority is unquestionable

2) Reinforce your key points.
A cats' personal hygiene is a fine example to small children, but cats don't force themselves on others. They show empathy and intelligence

3) Tell your reader what to do with this information to enrich their lives.
Clever people own cats. Get one from the SPCA or from ads in the local papers and enrich your life and the lives of others

Now look at your essay.

Have you put your view across:

* Logically ?
* Clearly ?
* Correctly ?
* Accurately ?

Now write an introduction that leads the reader into your essay

I immediately see a major problem.
My thesis statement doesn't fit my contents or conclusion!!!!!

So I have two alternatives:

* Change the Thesis Statement or,
* Restructure my essay

Here I choose to change my thesis statement.

* Following this essay method not only helps you to structure a great essay, but also helps you reason and think logically.

Write your introduction to draw the reader in.

1) Attract the reader with something that will enrich their lives.
"Everybody needs a role model for inspiration motivation and guidance."

2) Focus in on your key points.
"In these days of hectic schedules, pollution and health hazards, a self cleaning pet, relieves us of responsibility and sets a fine example to the rest of the world."

3) State Your Main Thesis
"Cats make the best pets"

Now try it yourself

* Practice on simple topics
* Move to academic topics
* Use it to reduce stress and save time

The more you write the better you will get.

Author's Bio: 

George Forder is a communications trainer working with corporate clients and individual people to help them to better themselves.
Based in South Africa, but well traveled, he delights in solving problems. Visit him at www.spindrift.co.za
or contact him george@spindrift.co.za