How to write an essay

How to write an essay

He does not write at all whose poems no man reads - Marcus Aurelius


1. Intro

State what the essays about. What question you will be answering, what conclusions you hope to draw from those answers.


* In the following essay I will be exploring stoicism in the modern world.  What is stoicism? What problems exist in the modern world?  What effect does stoicism have on these problems?  I hope to answer these questions and more and in doing so I hope to reduce the effect of the problems in the modern world.


2. The Meat

Answer the questions in your intro.  Answer the questions with the use of a story.  If they lead to more questions great, answer them.  

Start by stating the question, why it's relevant to the wider essay question, your research/answer and a summary of what you learnt.  

* What is Stoicism?  It's an ancient philosophy.  It was founded by Zeno (

334 - 262 BCE.) Zeno believed that the root of our suffering lay in our desires and attachments to external things such as money, status and material possessions.  Zeno felt that we should focus only on that which we have control over - Our thoughts and actions.  This principal is known as The Dichotomy of Control and is a pinochle of the Stoic Philosophy.  By accepting external events that we have no control over and focusing inward on our own thoughts and actions we find peace.  The modern world is still plagued with people placing their focus on external outcomes, social media likes, video views, our possessions and as a result mental health cases are in a crisis condition, so why not be like Zeno and embrace the Dichotomy of Control by turning our focus inward and focusing on our thoughts and actions instead.


3. Tweak

I was originally going to talk about Zeno being a wealthy merchant, losing it all and finding peace in the wreckage.  When his wealth, status and possessions sank to the bottom of the see, so did his suffering.  But as I was writing it didn't feel needed.  If your tasked with writing a longer essay by all means add it, but if its short be willing to delete any unneeded content.


4. Conclusion

Answer your essay question.  State your initial thoughts, before writing this essay.  What you learnt.  Your final conclusion.


*  When I was first tasked with this essay I thought 'Don't be cray.  How can a philosophy made over 2,000 years ago help people now.  We live in two different worlds.  We can travel across the planet in a day,  our healthcare allows us to live for longer and our technology advances even the craziest of the ancients imaginations.  How can they possibly help us deal with modern problems?'  I was wrong.  What I failed to realise was that everything I thought was problems weren't the problem.  As the great stoic Captain Jack Sparrow once said 'The problem is not the problem.  The problem is your attitude towards the problem.' Once you realise this truth you realise that we're the exact same as the ancients and as a result their solutions should still work.....



5. Extra

Now go back and add in relevant quotes.  Add a story that helps emphasise your point. take out fluff eg. All you really have control over in this world is your own thoughts and your own actions - You have control over your thoughts and actions.   If the sentence makes sense without a word, get rid of it.


7. Start Crap

Write out a crap essay.  Then rewrite it to be bad.  Rewrite that to be ok and continue this process till it's awesome.  Often we never start due to aiming to high.  aim low and adjust as you go.


Thanks for reading and good luck with your own essays.









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