While sitting down to pen a formal essay seems like an impossibly complex task, it’s actually not that challenging. Your ultimate success lies in your approach or strategy to constructing your essay. In other words, if you simply jump straight into a writing project with no background information, research, thesis or outline, it’s extremely likely that you’re not going to be as successful as you want to be. Constructing an essay is a multi-step process which requires both careful planning and deliberate execution. For starters, you’re going to want to initiate your project by doing as much research as necessary. This might include accessing various types of databases, both academic and non-academic; your goal is to fill your mind with as many related details to your topic as possible. Be sure to either take notes or create bookmarked lists of hyperlinks which you can quickly access when you actually sit down and begin writing. Next, you’re going to want to examine all the evidence and information you have available to you and begin contemplating various original ideas and concepts in a basic “compare and contrast” manner. This is the stage in development where you should begin to formulate your own ideas with regards to what you want to say, or state with your essay. Once you know what topics, ideas and areas you want to focus on, create a thesis. In a nutshell, a thesis is simply a singular statement that summarizes your entire concept as succinctly as possible. Try to imagine all the various counter-arguments that opponents might use to derail your thesis as well; this will help you build a better essay and construct a more solid conclusion. Create an outline which briefly shows how the essay is going to be arranged. You should consider both the impact of certain points or content on subsequent areas as well as the overall pacing of the piece as well. It’s important that your essay be able to clearly and concisely lead the audience through your logic so that they will come to understand your conclusions. Now comes the fun part, actually sitting down and penning the introduction paragraph of your essay. For some people this step is easy; especially if enough preparation and research was done beforehand. For others however, getting that first introductory paragraph completed is a difficult task indeed. If you find yourself stuck, wondering what you should do next, try to place yourself in the shoes of the reader for a change. What would you personally like to see covered in the introduction as a reader, are there any interesting anecdotes that you might be able to use in order to link the purpose of your essay with real-life examples? The body of your essay should be clearly divided into distinct paragraphs, each of which should cover individual concepts or topics. We’re talking about fairly straightforward sections here, each paragraph needs to present sentences clearly stating your proposed topic which are then followed-up with supporting sentences that further reinforce your assertions. Remember to focus on the tone you’re using; many readers feel that they are able to connect and comprehend with those who employ a more conversational tone in their writing. Finally, wrap up your essay with a conclusion that perfectly summarizes your thesis. The conclusion is a great place to put any additional thoughtful comments or allusions to certain famous quotes and so forth. A truly well-constructed and artful conclusion is not only able to condense your points into a thrilling turn-of-phrase or two; it is also able to make the reader feel as though they need to take some form of action.