The Levels of Resolution
An essay exists at multiple levels:
A good essay works at every one of those levels simultaneously.
MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE
Writing begins with these 3 steps:
Within each paragraph, see if your sentences are in the best possible order. Get rid of any sentences that are no longer necessary.
Same for paragraphs: They should help the essay flow in the best, most logical progression. Move the corresponding paragraphs until they are in the most appropriate order.
For Peterson, writing is not just a matter of fulfilling an assignment; it is a skill with deeply existential consequences.
The outline is the skeleton of the essay and provides its structure.
An essay that is 1,000 words requires a 10 sentence outline.
After finishing your first draft: write a NEW outline of 10-15 sentences. DON'T LOOK BACK AT YOUR ESSAY WHILE YOU DO THIS!!!
The purpose of this step is to force yourself to reconstruct your argument from memory. Generally, when you remember something, you simplify it and retain only what is most important. Doing this, you will remove what is useless and keep what is vital.
To continue improving your essay, you can repeat the process of re-writing and re-ordering your sentences, re-ordering your paragraphs, and re-outlining. Add references, links, biography.
Then format it: 12pt font, tabbed idents.
Working paragraph by paragraph, take each one of your sentences and write a better version of it.
Peterson advises you place each sentence on its own line and write the revised version underneath.
Use your notes. You can work back and forth between changing the outline and your sentences.
The first words you write are the first draft. Writing is thinking. You'll rarely know what exactly you want to say when you start writing.
The time you put into editing, reworking and refining turns your first draft into a second draft, and then into a third. If you keep refining it over days or weeks or even years, it eventually becomes something great.
Formatting with paragraphs, an introduction and a conclusion is not the central component of good writing.
The underlying purpose behind writing is to communicate information and is composed fundamentally of ideas.
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