The Wall Street Journal article “It’s not that the essay is wrong, but it’s wrong when you’re trying to say something that’s so complex, that it’s just impossible to do,” says Sarah Cramer, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia’s School of Arts and Sciences.
The problem is when you try to write it in the first place.
“When you’re writing an article, you’re just trying to get it out of your system,” she says.
“It just takes a long time to get into the right frame of mind to write a very simple piece of prose.
So you can’t expect it to be that simple.”
And you can never get a perfect essay, either.
“You never know what’s going to happen next,” Cramer says.
If you have an idea for an essay, consider how it could be put into practice.
For example, if you want to write an article on how to get a job, you could start by writing a brief story about the benefits and challenges of that.
“Or if you’re interested in writing an autobiographical essay, try to find the things that have stuck with you over the years that are very relevant to you today,” says Cramer.
She recommends reading a book to help you understand how to write.
“What makes a good writing practice?” she says, pointing to the book A Memoir of a Woman, a memoir of a woman who is now living in Germany.
“The key is to make it clear how you want your piece to go.”
If you don’t have the time to spend on an essay right now, consider writing a blog post.
“There are many different kinds of writing that you can do that are much more effective and much less time consuming,” says Michael Nitz, who teaches creative writing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“Some of the best writers are not writing the same thing over and over again.
They are using different strategies to get their message across.”
(This piece has been updated to include a link to a blog from Georgia Tech.)