The Writing Process
Students and instructors alike tend to see friendship as arguably the easiest topic to write an essay about, because everyone has had plenty of experience to talk about in this regard. For this reason, there are few materials to aid writing about friendship – both online and offline. This seems unfair, because the topic of friendship is also arguably the broadest one possible, and there are many pitfalls and tempting mistakes.
First of all, a student may often think that writing about friendship one can simply tell a story from one’s life. Friendship is a positive thing in our life, so we enjoy talking about how great our friends are and how we value them. An essay, however, is still an academic paper and never equals to a simple life-story. Of course, you are welcome to use real-life examples to illustrate your point, but they alone cannot constitute a solid essay. If you fail to realize this, your writing will be a simple stream of consciousness with little to no academic value. So, you need to remember that you are writing an academic paper and not an exercise in freewriting.
The reason why friendship is such a popular topic for various kinds of essays is because it is so broad and gives the opportunity to train the student in academic writing skills without limiting him or her to a specific topic. So basically, you just take the guidelines for a particular kind of essays and "fill" them with what you have to say about your topic.
Like any other essay, an essay about friendship will be built according to a three-part structure: introduction, main body, and conclusion. The main body, as one may guess, should be the biggest and the most meaningful part of your essay. This is where you put everything you have to say on the topic. The introduction and the conclusion of your essay are equally important, but you are not to give your reader any new information here. So, they are to be kept as brief as possible; together, they should not exceed 30% of your whole paper. The function of an introduction is to get the reader prepared for what you are about to discuss in the main body, and the conclusion is where you summarize and finalize it.
Mind that you don’t need to keep all these guidelines in your head all the time throughout your writing process. You can facilitate it a great deal by penning an outline in advance. Basically, you just make a list of your paragraphs and the main ideas that you will discuss in each paragraph, and you write a few keywords next to each point in your list. This way, you will not overlook them when you move on to actually drafting your essay.
These guidelines are not specific for essays about friendship. Quite the contrary, they are used in all kinds of papers, regardless of the topic. However, friendship is the kind of subject where it is easiest to overlook them. So, it is necessary to stress that the three-part structure is a crucial element in writing an essay about friendship.
FORMULATING A FRIENDSHIP ESSAY TITLE
Some students fail to understand the value of an essay title and the difference that it can make. Meanwhile, whenever you are about to read something, you first look at the title, and it is arguably the most important factor that contributes to your opinion on what you are about to read before you even start reading. Failing to understand this, many students see the title as a mere formality and just use the general topic of their essays as the title. You should avoid this by making your friendship essay title accurately reflect its content. Obviously, to achieve this, you should first write your essay
, and then move on to composing the title. Only when the essay itself is ready can you pick the title to reflect its main idea, because before that, there is nothing to reflect. So, you put off the title for the last.
BEGINNING TO WRITE
We have already stressed the importance of adhering to the classical essay structure when writing about friendship. One should not see it as a set of restrictions and limitations to one's creative thought. Quite the contrary, following the structure gives you as a writer the sense of direction and saves you from being stranded without knowing what to do and where even to begin. Speaking about essays about friendship, in particular, there are two main approaches – the general and the specific one. In other words, you can either begin with discussing the concept of friendship in general and then substantiate your opinion with more specific evidence, or you can start off with a real-life instance and then deduct your main point from this example.
We realize that this may sound vague, so here is a concrete example of how you can start off your essay about friendship:
“Friendship” is a very important word for all of us. The concept of friendship roots so deep in our minds that we use this word without even thinking. But how can we be sure that we mean the same thing? What do we mean we pronounce this word?”
This would be the more general kind of an introduction to an essay about friendship. It could be used for any type of essay. One can argue that it is generic, but nevertheless, it constitutes an excellent starting point from which you can go further in any direction you like. If you want to start off more specifically, here is another example:
"The understanding of friendship is as old as humanity itself. Same as every other aspect of human lives, friendship and its understanding have been evolving throughout the ages. This is the reason why, when one tries to come up with a unique definition, one finds that this challenge is next to impossible. It is, however, easy to see that all understandings of friendship agree that it all comes down to the spiritual side. So, it only makes sense to turn to psychology for answers.”
This is an excellent example of an introduction to an essay about friendship. What makes it so excellent is that it immediately informs the reader about what the main body of the essay will discuss. It clearly states that the author will not focus on his or her own experiences with his or her own friends. Instead, a wider topic will be under discussion – the very concept of friendship and the psychological approach to it. Moreover, this introduction ends with a smooth transition to the main body of your essay that will present more information on the topic. This way, you do not need to think too hard about what you will write next and how you will start off the main body of your essay.
In general, it is a splendid idea to look through other authors’ essays about friendships to see how they choose to start their essays
and how well their introductions work in the context of their essays as a whole. However, if you choose to do so, don’t get carried away. It may be tempting to go investigating other authors’ writings instead of working on your own. To avoid this, you should already have a clear idea of what you are to write about. This way, you will be able to see immediately, whether or not the example that you are looking at is relevant to your work. If it is irrelevant, then you can and should just drop it and move on with your work without wasting any of your precious time and effort.