ESL and IELTS Help 4 U

Writing a great essay (1)

Posted on: June 18, 2010

Most of my students think that writing an essay has one step: the actual writing. They are trying to sit down with pencil and paper, start at the beginning and write a full essay in final form. This is almost impossible for a native English speaker. So for a student of English as a second language….never!

Writing always has several steps. It is a process. Writing an essay is like painting a picture with words.

Betty Sue Flowers is one of the best writing teachers in America. She’s from Texas and she talks about essay writing using four parts of our inner selves. What does this mean?

In our lives, we have many roles. I, for example, am a woman, teacher, mother, daughter, gardener, reader, writer. I have an inner artist, singer, dancer, just to name a few. You also have many inner aspects to who you are.

Betty Sue Flowers talks about how 4 of our inner selves help us with our writing. Each self takes us through one step of writing.

1. Our inner Artist begins the essay by writing down all our ideas. The artist writes down everything: good, bad, silly or serious. The artist’s job is to get all our ideas out of the brain and onto paper — not in sentences, just words or pictures.

2. Our inner Architect looks at all the ideas and picks out the best ones. The architect organizes these ideas and puts them in order.

3. Our inner Carpenter (I love this picture of a wise, experienced man who knows his craft) is the one who actually creates sentences. He looks at what the architect has done and then chooses words and puts them together to communicate the ideas.

4. Our inner Judge then comes to take a look at everyone’s work and see where your essay can be improved. The judge’s job is to make things better: to check spelling, grammar, sentence construction, vocabulary and to make suggestions for improvement.

I love looking at writing an essay in this way! If you’d like to read more go to for a talk that Betty Sue Flowers gave on her model of essay writing.

This post is my introduction on writing a great essay. The next few posts will talk about planning, writing and editing.


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