What do you do when faced with an essay or white paper report for work?
The comedy routine is out.
Cancel the ventriloquist.
Don’t rent the karaoke machine just yet.
Setting the annual report to music? Out.
Presenting the grant proposal through interpretive dance? Not such a good idea.
So what kind of format will work for these boring writing projects? The simplest one: An introduction that includes the thesis statement and the points you intend to cover in the subsequent three – seven – many paragraphs that follow. Finish up with a conclusion that reflects back on the introduction and voila, a bullet proof white paper.
OK, you knew these steps; somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind you can actually recall this formatting rule because it was accidentally embedded into your brain while you were dozing in English 1A. So you know the essential how, you just may need a little reminder. So here are some ideas to help you through the essay (white paper, report, whatever project you must create when your boss says — write up your thoughts on that — and then present that to the board of directors tomorrow). Write the introduction last.
First gather your supporting information.
I know this sound backwards, but it works.
The topic and theme of your report or paper will emerge as you gather your sources.
Collect more sources then you think you need,
Write down where the sources come from as soon as you discover them. This helps in two instances. It will help you say to your boss as well as the board of directors, well, I found that statistic at www.ThisMustBeTrue.com. And Dr. Expert in All Fields agrees with my position.
The second reason for noting from whence a source originates is that you may want to track back that source yourself. Be smart and leave a trail of bread crumbs back to your own research.
Let’s say you write up a paper extolling the virtues of a recently invented building material made from corn syrup, chicken beaks and left-over radium. And you want to write up a proposal for venture capital funding. The ﬁrst step is to research the beneﬁts of corn syrup combined with radium. Write down where you found the sources so you can return to the source and conﬁrm that it really is legitimate and not written by a blogger who routinely wears an aluminum hat.
“It’s not plagiarism – I’m recycling words, as any good environmentally
conscious writer would do.” ~ Uniek Swain
Once you’ve written down ﬁve or six of your sources and why the source supports your argument (or thesis) you have the outline for the proposal. See how easy that was? No really, it’s easy, just counter intuitive to what you’re accustomed to.
Find the interesting points, line them up, paragraph by paragraph and you will never fear the essay again.