Read Other Essays before Writing Your Own

When you’re looking to improve your essay writing skills, reading some essays written by other people is one of the top strategies. What can you learn from other peoples’ essays? The answer is a lot.

When you write regularly, you can easily get stuck in a rut. It’s kind of like having your own style of writing and not being able to break out of it even when you want to. If you want to take your essays to the next level, to go from great to superb, there are a few strategies you can try. Using these strategies will help increase your writing skills and experience.

Reading other peoples’ essays can help you develop as a writer. It can help you see what you like in writing styles and what you don’t like.
Here are some techniques to use:

  • Read a variety of essays in different subjects
  • Read essays from your peers and colleagues as well as higher levels.
  • Different disciplines of study use different ways of placing arguments and supporting claims.
  • Look for different techniques and envision how you would apply them in your own writing.
  • Be critical about each essay. What do you like? What don’t you like?
  • Is the essay persuasive? If so, how did the writer accomplish that?
  • Is the argument balanced? If not, what could they do to improve it?
  • You can also read newspapers and see how evidence is presented and how they use persuasion techniques.

Other benefits of reading essays written by someone else:

  • It broadens your vocabulary. What word choices did they make? Did you think of using that word?
  • Helps you communicate more clearly and concisely. Great essays give you a pattern or template you can follow when writing your next essay.
  • How did the writer convey his or her message? Was it clearly or discreetly? What can you learn from it?

Use a dictionary when reading. It’s also handy to have a thesaurus close by. Look up words often, and look up alternate words. Which would you have used in that situation? After reading other essays and doing some critical thinking about them, you will be much better prepared to begin writing your own.

Make sure your essay contains the elements you liked about the other essays, and doesn’t contain the elements you didn’t like. Doing this practice often will help you polish up your writing skills.