How To Write A Persuasive Essay

Sitting down to write a persuasive essay can be a daunting process.  The theory is simple –

1.  Title
2.  Thesis
3.  Paragraph 1 with supporting facts.
4.  Paragraph 2 with supporting facts.
5.  Paragraph 3 with supporting facts.
6.  Conclusion and summary with call to action.

But try to put this theory into practice and many people stare at a blank page (or computer screen).  How do you get started?  In this article I have a couple of killer tips to write that persuasive essay.

Free Writing

No one expects you to sit down and write perfectly crafted prose on your first attempt.  Putting that expectation on yourself straight up is a sure fire way to bring on writer’s block.  If you are staring at a blank page, try free writing.

Just relax and write.  Write whatever comes into your mind about your chosen topic.  Don’t stop to edit.  Don’t even bother creating whole sentences or separate paragraphs if you don’t want to.  Just keep writing.

You can set a time limit if you want, for example, 10 minutes.  After your initial spurt of activity, read through what you have written for ideas to develop further.  All of the articles I write for this website started out as free writing.   The first few lines of free writing for this post looked like –

Starting to write … daunting process.  Theory is simple.  Title thesis  supporting paragraphs conclusion.  How do you get started … free writing … mind maps …

Your free writing might end up as points to develop further.  It might even be complete paragraphs you can use in your final composition.  If you sit down and free write for just 10 minutes, you will often end up with 300 words of good material.

Mind Maps

The second trip to getting started is a mind map.  This has helped people chunk down their problems (no, that is not a reference to beer and pizza night gone bad) for decades.  Put simply, a mind map is a diagram linking ideas on a piece of paper and is a fantastic brainstorming tool.

To start, grab a scrap piece of paper.  In the centre, write down the idea you are trying to convince your audience about.

What is the main reason they should believe you?  What benefit do you they get from siding with you?  Draw this in a box off the right and link the two.

Now list 2 or 3 facts that support your first reason.  Discuss them with a few bullet points.  Link these back to your First Reason box.  Now come up with your Second Reason and a Third Reason, each with their own supporting facts.

You know have a diagram that looks like a bit of a pyramid.  One goal, three reasons, 2 or 3 facts per reason.  Now stand back and look at what you have just created.  It might not be art, but it is an outline.  What you are trying to convince people of is your thesis statement.  Each of the reasons are the subjects for your supporting paragraphs.  And each supporting paragraph already has some facts you can use to create authority with your readers.

The essay as a whole can be a little daunting.  But break it down into manageable chunks and you are quickly on your way to writing your persuasive essay.

Photo by Umjanedoan

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