Notes on Essay Writing Guide by Jordan B. Peterson

  1. introduction

    • why write essays

      • writing forms thinking

    • workspace set up

      • be able to have open the essay and reference material side by side

    • avoiding procrastination, how often and how long to write

  2. Levels of Resolution

    • do not disregard heuristics until you know better

    • paragraph is about 10 sentences / 100 words

    • words come first, then sentences, then paragraphs

    • one paragraph - one idea

    • paragraphs have to be arranged in a logical progression

    • essay exists within a context of interpretation made up of the reader and its culture

    • choose topics you interested in

    • finished beats perfect (probably mostly in context of assigned tasks)

  3. The Topic and the Reading List

    • the central question that you are trying to answer with the essay is the topic question (put the topic in question form)

    • beginning the writing process

      • list assigned topics, or

      • list ten or so questions that you want to answer

      • create a reading list

    • take notes (and how to take them)

    • there is no evidence highlighting sentences in textbooks works

  4. The Outline

    • write 125% of target words so you can edit out substandard parts

    • write outline first. Non-optional.

    • outline serves as a skeleton. Outline is an argument with its paragraphs being proofs.

  5. Paragraphs

    • do not worry much about how well you are writing. Get the essay substance down first. Polish later when editing.

    • do not try to produce and edit at the same time.

    • write a single paragraph for each outline

    • do not write references, just mark the parts that need them with {citation needed} or so

    • now you have 1st draft

  6. Editing

    • place each sentence on its own line

    • now write another version of each sentence under each sentence - which should be shorter and simpler, use better words, improve sentence flow, etc

  7. Re-ordering paragraphs

    • Basicly what 6. Editing does but with paragraphs. - now you have 2nd draft

  8. Create a new outline

    • do it from memory (no looking at the essay) which should help distilling the essence of essay

    • now you have 3rd draft

  9. Repeat

    • 3rd should be pretty good but you may repeat to go the next level.

    • you may wait a few days to do this so you can look at your product with fresh eyes.

    • you are not genuinely finished until you cannot edit anymore

  10. References and Bibliography

    • add references in proper style

    • your essay is completed. Now format it properly (double-spaced, indents, etc) PC: in context of Word documents. Not relevant to reStructuedText, etc