Much of essay writing is about persuasiveness. Often, stronger points are more concise in their structure. Of course, many young scholars will try to pad out their word counts however they can. Still, real academia is about quality, not quantity. Anyone can babble on for minutes on end – what really matters is the nuance and thought behind what you’re presenting in your writing.
There is also the case that essay writing is becoming more dubious in nature. Some people would rather let artificial intelligence technologies handle these responsibilities instead. However, it’s important to be as proactive as possible regarding your work. Below you’ll find some tips to help you be concise in your writing.
Planning isn’t extra or tedious work. Students avoiding it may think that they’re skipping a lot of aggro, but they can actually make the process of writing more challenging when doing that. It can be faster to plan things out first. Take the time to map out what you want to say in your writing. You could bullet point ideas to give a framework to your essays. Things to cover in your plan could be:
How you interpret the question and whether you fully understand it.
The order of your paragraphs to create a more cohesive argument.
Keywords and phrases that will guide your essay’s contents.
Crucial researchers whose own ideas you wish to refer to often.
A single sentence that can summarise your essay.
You should find that your writing becomes more concise once a solid plan is in place. You will be far less tempted to meander in your arguments or pad out your essay to hit a certain word count. Instead, you will be sure of the direction of your writing at all times.
Writing is often seen as the end of a learning journey. You might see your essays as a way to cap off certain parts of your education.
The truth is that the learning process never stops. There’s always ways to keep improving. For example, an English course can help you refine your writing skills more than you might think. Additionally, there may be after school clubs you can attend where your essay polishing techniques can be improved.
It is also worth approaching your teachers for feedback. Perhaps they have given you some already with remarks on your grades or your past papers? In the end, being concise in your writing is a skill, and it requires maintenance and dedication to get it right.
After finishing a paragraph, stop and reflect on your work. Take a look at what you have written and read it aloud.
If you struggle to get your mouth around certain words or find yourself running out of breath without a full stop in sight, then there’s room to be more concise in your writing. Break up those longer sentences into smaller chunks.
If you’re writing on Microsoft Word, then you have numerous tools at your disposal there. After opening your document, scroll your mouse cursor up to the ‘Review’ tab at the top of your screen. A row down and to the left will find a ‘Read Aloud’ function. Then, click the part of your document you wish to be read aloud, then click the feature. You can then listen along with the robotic voice to see if you’re satisfied with your word choices and sentence structures.
Edits are always crucial at the end of the writing process. Try to be critical and honest with your work, and see if you can trim the fat anywhere in your word count.
It may even help to ask your peers to proofread what you have written. A fresh pair of eyes can give you something of a reality check on what you have written. Choose someone you trust for this, and invite them to provide you with some straight-shooting feedback. Remember, friends can enormously influence one’s habits, so the selection process matters here.
You may succeed in convincing your friends to help you if you offer to do the same for them. Editing and proofreading a friend’s essay may help you be more concise in your writing. You make similar mistakes, or perhaps the distraction of looking at their work can help you return to yours with fresh eyes.
Take care not to overedit and obsess over your words as well. Otherwise, you may pick your writing apart and do more harm than good. Schedule regular breaks. Tools such as Grammarly may also be able to guide you in the conciseness of your essay and help you identify a distinct endpoint in the editing process.
If you take notice of all the tips mentioned so far, you should hopefully feel more confident about your writing. That can help you to create clarity in both your mind and thus in your writing too.
Believe in yourself. Of course, it’s not always easy to do so when you’re writing an important essay. Still, you’ll find concise writing to be a natural event when you’re feeling bold and ambitious with your papers. You will find yourself with plenty to say, and you’ll be less inclined to waste a single word.
Revisit all the positive feedback you’ve received; Source encouragement from parents, friends and teachers. Let it all fuel you to create a wonderful piece of writing that you can truly be proud of. Above all else, always remember – you can do it!
I'm a freelance copywriter with an undergraduate degree in English Literature. I've written for many different outlets, including but not limited to marketing agencies, graduate recruitment websites, and online training companies. I've even interviewed a few famous actors for student and arts blogs too! Covering a wide span of material has been incredibly rewarding, as I get to turn my experiences in the arts, education and careers into helpful advice. I sincerely hope you'll find something to your liking here!