Procrastination – The Enemy of Success

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Procrastination as opposed to laziness is indulging in low – priority jobs while avoiding the ones on the higher priority list. There are many reasons for procrastination; the most common being overawed by the monstrosity of the work at hand. The mind tries to find out ways to avoid the unpleasant work and supplements it with an easier one. Another reason may be the fear of being loaded with more such work in the future when the work gets done.Or, it may even be the fear of failure. It has often been observed that it is the perfectionists that often tend to procrastinate as they would rather stop doing a work, than do it in a clumsy manner.  Procrastination is a habit that we develop over the years and it takes time to wean ourselves away from this self defeating habit, but it will definitely be crushed; once we decide to do so.

Identify the Reason

Our first job is to find out the cause behind procrastination. Why exactly are we looking for excuses to avoid the task at hand?  Once we acknowledge that we are procrastinating, half the battle is won. We must be ready to forgive ourselves for our limitations, and chalk out a plan to overcome them. There will never be a perfect time and place for starting and completing our work. The only way to get a job done is to do it, and get over with it.

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Get Organized

Getting a clear picture of the things that need to be done on daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis makes it sure that all our work is done on time; and we are able to achieve our goals in a smoother manner. Therefore, getting an organizer like Rescue time and Hubbstaff, and writing down the to-do list for each hour of the day is necessary to avoid procrastination. The to-do list would help to keep you on your toes and help you to complete your work on time. Using apps like Procraster would help people with procrastinating tendencies to be on their toes.

Set Priorities

Our first step is to prioritize the work that must be done first. Most achievers are organized, they use high priority to-do lists to focus on the work that needs to be done urgently. The most difficult task should be completed first and the easier ones should be left for a latter time. Once the boulder is removed the smaller tasks will feel like a breeze.

Un-schedule Low Priority Work

Work that can be avoided or can be outsourced should be unscheduled to create free time. That free time should be utilized to complete piled up work from previous to-do lists. It also helps us to know where we are losing our precious hours and invest them in activities that would yield long time positive results.

Set Achievable Goals

If you are overawed with the monstrosity of the task; break it into smaller achievable ones that could be completed within smaller time frames.   Select 45 min, 30 min or 15 min time slots to complete a particular task. Take small breaks in between but take care not to extend the short breaks into longer ones. Procrastinators are often heroic about their abilities and procrastinate, thinking that they will be able to do their work in a shorter time than the task would actually take. This very mentality can be used to trick ourselves into doing the work. We can tell ourselves that we shall be doing the work only for 15 minutes after which we shall do the easier task. Once we start doing the work -a chunk of the work will be completed before we know it.

Visualize long term results

Think about the long term gains, if the work at hand is completed and the losses if it is not done. Our future is based on what we do today. Thinking of positive results will give energy and vigor for completing the work at hand. Procrastination results in work being piled up creating stress and dissatisfaction that can easily be avoided by completing the work as soon as it comes.

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Avoid Distractions

Stay away from television and social media while doing a work. Create an appropriate environment in which you will be able to focus on the task without distractions. However, do not spend most of the time creating a suitable environment instead of getting the job done. That would, result in procrastinating the job at hand.

Set a Time Limit

Hold yourself accountable for failing to stick to the time limit that you have set for completing a work. To be your own boss, you must be an obedient servant.  Reward yourself for each little milestone that you reach, and tell yourself how good and relaxing it feels to have completed the work. Promise yourself a treat once a particular work is done within the stipulated time. Soon, the mind will stop procrastinating and develop a habit of completing every work on time. That would pave the way towards a fruitful and rewarding life.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Today and Tomorrow

by J. E . Carpenter

Don’t tell me of tomorrow;

Give me the man who’ll say,

That when a good deed’s to be done

“Let’s do it today.”

We may command the present,

If we act and never wait,

But repentance is the phantom

Of a past that comes too late!

Don’t tell me of tomorrow

There is much to do today,

That can never be accomplished,

If we throw the hours away,

Every moment has its duty,

Who the future can foretell?

Then why put off till tomorrow

What today can do as well?

Beneath A Grayer Sky

penned by Raatri

.

If I could, I’d wish to realize
A storm kinder than human eyes
Stealing away my achromatic self
While the crowd remains none the wise.

Allow only the rushing wind to speak,
Let its whispers to howling peak.
And only the graying skies may weep,
Taking away my mind to keep.

If I wished to surrender still,
Dragged through glass to death uphill,
I’d wish for a breezy caress last
Mourned by heavens overcast.

Oh, how I’d wish for a storm
Bringing raging, pounding rain
To wash this world, painted wrong,
Of overlapping neons desperate and vain.

I’d kneel and pray for a thundercloud
To crash and crackle thunderingly loud,
For the land above to light up fearfully bright
With blistering bolts to reveal their plight.

As I dream and hope and will
For a gust to cross my windowsill
Trees share secrets in a windy voice,
Pleading the skies for the world to heal.

Photo by Alena Koval on Pexels.com

ACTIVE and PASSIVE VOICE

Voice refers to the form of verb which indicates whether the subject is the doer of the action or the receiver of the action. It shows whether a transitive verb acts or is acted upon. A transitive verb has two voices.

Active: Arav paints a picture. Passive: A picture is painted by Arav. Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
  1. Active voice
  2. Passive Voice

ACTIVE VOICE

A verb is said to be in the active voice when the emphasis is on the doer or the subject. We say that the verb is in the active voice when the subject is the doer of the action.

 Example:      Arav                  paints        a picture.

                      Subject (doer) ↑ –    verb↑ 

Here Arav is the doer of the action. The verb ‘paints’ is said to be in the active voice. 

PASSIVE VOICE     

A verb is said to be in the passive voice when the emphasis is on the receiver or the object. We say that the verb is in the passive voice when the subject is the receiver of the action.

Example :    A picture                        is painted      by        Arav.

                     Subject (receiver) ↑       verb↑ 

Here the subject is a picture. The verb ‘painted is said to be in the passive voice. The subject is acted upon or suffers the action.      

  [  Active = doing        :      Passive = suffering or receiving  ]

CHANGE OF VOICE

The following changes are done while changing a sentence from active voice to passive voice.

  • The object and subject change their places in the passive voice.

                                                 (Active verb form)

Active:       The cat                    chased                        the mouse.

Passive:      The mouse              was chased     by       the cat.   

                                               (Passive verb form)

  • A form of the helping (Be verb) is used according to the tense, number and person of the subject.
            ACTIVE VOICE              PASSIVE VOICE
Arav paints a picture.A picture is painted by Arav.
Arav paints two pictures.Two pictures are painted by Arav.
Arav painted a picture.A picture was painted by Arav.
  • . The past participle of the verb is used after the helping verb.
  • The preposition ‘by’ is added where the agent is important and necessary to complete the sense.

E.g. a) Active :      Arav stole my pendrive.

           Passive :     My pendrive was stolen by Arav.

        b)  Active :    Someone stole my pendrive.

             Passive :   My pendrive was stolen.     (as the agent the agent is not important we do not use ‘by’)

  • If an active verb is followed by a preposition, it is retained when the voice is changed into passive.

              Active: The teacher gave question papers to the students.

              Passive: Question papers were given to the students by the teacher.

  • When the active verb has two objects, one direct and the other indirect, either of them becomes the subject and the other is retained as object in the passive voice.

              Active: Sal gave me a book. [‘Me’ – indirect object, Book – direct object.]

              We may use either of the objects as the subject in the passive voice.

              Passive: A book was given to me by Sal.

              Or

             Passive : I was given a book by Sal.

USE OF ACTIVE VOICE

Active Voice is used when the doer of the action is to be made prominent and we know the doer of the action.

USE OF PASSIVE VOICE

Passive voice is used when we do not know who the doer of the action is.

          My purse was stolen at the shopping mall.

It is used when the action is more important than the doer of the action.

         The pandemic started in December 2019. (we are more interested in the action)

 CHANGING ACTIVE VOICE TO PASSIVE VOICE

          TENSE       ACTIVE VOICE           PASSIVE VOICE
Simple Present He flies a kite.A kite is flown by him.
Present ContinuousHe is flying a kite.A kite is being flown by him.
Present PerfectHe has flown a kite.A kite has been flown by him.
Simple pastHe flew a kite.A kite was flown by him.
Past ContinuousHe was flying a kite.A kite was being flown by him.
Past perfectHe had flown a kite.A kite had been flown by him.
Simple futureHe will fly a kite.A kite will be flown by him.
Future ContinuousHe will be flying a kite.No passive voice
Future PerfectHe will have flown a kite.A kite will have been flown by him.

Changing Simple Present/ Past/ Future sentences into Passive Voice.

Object of active voice + be-verb + past participle (V3) + agent

Simple Present –   A kite is flown by him.

Simple Past       –   A kite was flown by him.

Simple Future   –   A kite will be flown by him.

Changing  Present/ Past Continuous Sentences into Passive – Voice

Object of active voice + be- verb+ being + past participle (V3) + agent

Present Continuous  –  A kite is being flown by him.

Past Continuous        –  A kite was being flown by him.

(No Future continuous Passive Voice)

Changing  Present/ Past/ Future Perfect Sentences into Passive – Voice

Object of active voice + have-verb + been + past participle (V3) + agent

Present Perfect    –  A kite has been flown by him.

Past Perfect          –  A kite had been flown by him.

Future Perfect     –  A kite will have been flown by him.

CHANGING IMPERATIVE SENTENCES INTO PASSIVE VOICE

The imperative sentences in the passive voice takes this form-

Let + object + be + past participle (V3) [ Assertive sentence]

Active:  Do the work now

Passive: Let the work be done.


Let not  + object + be + past participle  (V3) [Negative sentence]

Active: Do not leave the door ajar.

 Passive: Let not the door be left ajar.

                      ACTIVE VOICE                    PASSIVE VOICE
           Take this medicine.        Let this medicine be taken.
           Do not make a noise.        Let no noise be made.
           Shut the door.        Let the door be shut.
           Give her the file.        Let the file be given to her.

CHANGING INTERROGATIVE SENTENCES INTO PASSIVE VOICE

There are two types of interrogative sentences-

  1. Sentences beginning with wh- words

Active : Who killed the tiger?

Passive: By whom was the tiger was killed?

[Who in active voice becomes ‘by whom in the passive voice. If there is ‘Do/ Does/ Didin the active voice, you will have to be-verbs in the Passive voice.]

                    ACTIVE VOICE                          PASSIVE VOICE
Who wrote Macbeth? By whom  Macbeth was written?
Who belled the cat?By whom was the cat belled?
What will you do?What will be done by you?
Where did you see this man?Where was this man seen by you?
What do you want?What is wanted by you?
Whom did you laugh at?Who was laughed at by you?
When will he buy a car?When will a car be bought by him?
When will they announce the results?When will the results be announced?
Why did he punish you?Why were you punished by him?
Which shirt do you like?Which shirt is liked by you?
 What can you do with a fruit?What can be done with a fruit by you?
Why will they buy the land?Why will the land be bought by them?
  • Sentences beginning with verbs.  [ Sentences beginning with verbs are of two types]
  •  Those beginning with Do/ does/ did
  • Those beginning with other auxiliaries (is, am, was, can, would …) 

                     Active:  Did you do the work?

                     Passive: Was the work done by you?

                     Active : Can you write poetry?

                     Passive : Can poetry be written by you?

                       ACTIVE VOICE        PASSIVE VOICE
 Have you finished the work?Has the work been finished by you?
Do you visit your grandparents?Are your grandparents visited by you?
Did you teacher praise you?Were you praised by your teacher?
Are you writing English?Is English being written by you?
Does she like ice-creams?Are ice-creams liked by her?
Can you help the needy?Can the needy be helped by you?
Did she see the film?Was the film seen by her?

PASSIVE AGENT – ‘BY-CLAUSE

  • Sentences in Passive voice generally end with ‘by- clause’. But sometimes the ‘by-clause is omitted when the stress is on the action rather than the doer of the action or the agent.

    Passive:           The gang was nabbed.

    Passive:       The movie was made in the 80’s.

    Passive:   The shop was closed.

  • If the agent is implied not stated in Passive voice we use ‘people, one, someone, authority, I, she, they…’ as subject of in active voice.
               ACTIVE VOICE              PASSIVE VOICE
 Smoking is prohibited.The authority prohibits smoking.
Tresspassers will be prosecuted.Someone will prosecute tresspassers.
The giant was slain.Someone slew the giant.
English is spoken all over the world.People speak English all over the world.
Punctuality must be maintained.One must maintain punctuality.

.

  • In some passive sentences the agent is preceded by some other preposition instead of ‘by’.
             ACTIVE VOICE                PASSIVE VOICE
She knows him. He is known to her.
Astronomy interests him.He is interested in astronomy.
Their politeness surprised me.   I was surprised at their politeness.
Her behaviour pleased everyone.Everyone was pleased with her behaviour.

.

INFINITIVES

  • Infinitives after ‘be’ or ‘have’ verbs can be changed into Passive Voice.
                       ACTIVE VOICE                 PASSIVE VOICE
There is no time to lose.There is no time to be lost.
There is a lot to do.There is a lot to be done.
They are to do this work. This work is to be done by them.
There are two blogs to post.There are two blogs to be posted.

.

  • If the verb takes an object and infinitive after it the infinitives remain the same in the passive voice.
                        ACTIVE VOICE                          PASSIVE VOICE
We know him to be an actor.He is known to be an actor by us
Sam told her to write an essay.She was told to write an essay by Sam.

.

CHANGING NEGATIVE SENTENCES INTO PASSIVE VOICE

If the negative sentences contain do/does/did auxiliary that do-verb will be omitted in the passive and be-verb will be used. ‘Not’ will be placed between the be-verb and the main verb.

                  ACTIVE VOICE                    PASSIVE VOICE
    They can never win the match. The match can never be won by them.
    Doesn’t she speak Spanish? Is Spanish not spoken by her?
    He should not refuse the offer.The offer should not be refused by him.
     She does not love her friend.Her friend is not loved by her.

QUASI – PASSIVE VERBS

These verbs are active in form but passive in sense, and can be used transitively or intransitively with different subjects.

           ACTIVE VOICE                  PASSIVE VOICE
Honey tastes sweet.Honey is sweet when tasted.
The gate opened.The gate was opened.
The book is selling like hot cakes.The book is being sold like hot cakes.
The cookies have sold over a hundred pieces.The cookies have been sold over a hundred pieces.

.

CHANGING COMPLEX SENTENCES INTO PASSIVE VOICE

                        ACTIVE VOICE                           PASSIVE VOICE
We must endure what we cannot cure.What cannot be cured must be endured.
Everyone thought that it was an earthquake.It was thought by everyone that it was an earthquake.
Active : She is writing a story. Passive: A story is being written by her. Photo by Liam Anderson on Pexels.com

HOW TO WRITE AN ARTICLE — International Journal of Research (IJR)

An article is a piece of writing written for a large audience. The main motive behind writing an article is that it should be published in either newspapers or magazines or journals so as to make some difference to the world. It may be the topics of interest of the writer or it may be related to […]

HOW TO WRITE AN ARTICLE — International Journal of Research (IJR)

On Parenting

Photo by Elly Fairytale

Do not hurt their feelings,
Or criticise them all time.
They are learning through errors,
And learning isn’t a crime.

If they are not perfect,
Neither are you nor I.
A few words of encouragement,
Will help them rectify.

While parents climbed up hills;
They have mountains to climb.
What they need are cheering words,
To help them rise and shine.

They have their loads of problems,
Which are enough for their age.
What they need is some support,
To cross the chaotic stage.

Sprinkle words of wisdom,
Don’t shower them with useless things.
A little hardship won’t harm them,
But make them grateful beings.

So, guide them if they need it;
Your experience counts a lot.
Cutting diamonds need patience;
You don’t strike them while they’re hot.

Photo by Cottonbro

Night School

Photo by Lalesh Aldarwish

.

Som rubbed his eyes sleepily, unsure where he was. As he let out a yawn, he realised that school was over and all the children had left. Grabbing his satchel, he dashed towards the door. 
It was shut. Somebody had played a prank and locked it from outside. 
Bang! Bang!Bang! he pounded with all his might. 
‘Must be Viv and his gang. They are definitely giggling outside at my plight. I will complain to the Principal this time,’ he thought.
Bang! bang! Bang! his fists hurt.”OPEN THE DOOR…OPEN IT AT ONCE! Or I shall complain to the Principal,” he barked. He used his water bottle to thump the door.
‘What the hell was Aaya didi doing? She should come to clean the class at least.’he fumed stomping with anger. He rattled the door as hard as he could holding the knob.
“Didi! DIDIiiiiiii!” he yelled with all his might.
‘They should have come to clean and lock the classes by now.’ An uncomfortable thought creeped up his mind.’Could it be that they had already locked the classes?’ His heart pounded fast, as he rushed towards the window.


All the classes were on one side of the corridor with the other side opening towards the assembly area. The classroom did not have any window towards the corridor. The two windows opened up towards the playground. 
Som peeped out to see if he could see someone.  It was strangely vacant. Someone or the other always moved around in the ground at all odd times. But now it was uncannily vacant. None, except the trees stared back at him.


‘Mom must have gone off to take her classes at the coaching centre by now, she would be furious again. Dad wouldn’t come back till eight,’ he mulled.
There wasn’t any clock in the class to know the time. Som started to panic…drops of sweat trickled down his forehead.’ Was it too late? How did he fall asleep on the last bench? Could it be that everyone had left?’
“Didiiii! Bhaiya!!!! Open the door, I’m locked inside!!!” Som howled with all his might, his voice turning hoarse with every attempt at making himself heard.
There wasn’t any response.  Som started to feel uneasy. Nobody would miss him at home before eight. Both mom and dad came back around that time.
‘Would Aman and Sonu miss him at the park?’ he wondered.
“PIN DROP SILENCE! ” Teachers would often scream at them – now he assessed the actual meaning of it. The lively school that he was used to was transformed into a strange eerie place with a strange atmosphere.
School got over at 3pm. It must be around 3:30 at most. Suddenly it started getting dark , Som looked outside the window and watched grey clouds gather. He shook the grills with all his might, trying to make them loose , but they had been cemented to the frame some forty years ago and refused to bulge.
  The sky was got darker with every passing minute. Som desperately wanted to get out. He took the teachers chair and flung it against the door.  Nothing happened.  Next, he pushed the table hard at the door in an attempt to break it but the table was too heavy for a fifth grader, to make an impact. The door was solid oak and was impossible to break.  At least by a ten year old boy.


“MAMMAAAAA….!” Som cried out in despair.
Outside, it had become dark and clouds began to rumble. 
CRAAAAKK! Went a thunder following a lightening that split the sky in two. Som sat down below the whiteboard and covered his ears in terror.
‘Was she worried?’  He remembered the innumerable times that he did not answer the phone, being in the washroom, or drowned in his loud video games.  She had told their neighbour to check on him the first year when he was in fourth grade. Now, she resorted to scolding him every time she got worried.
Som switched on the light. Nothing happened… He switched on the fans… nothing… Som’s eyes widened with fright as he pushed the switchs on and off in desperation. Covering his face with his hands he sat down on the floor and let out a sob.
The school bhaiya had told him once that students never turned off the fans when they left; so they switched off the main switch to ensure that electricity was not wasted through the night.
Darkness descended like a shroud engulfing the furniture in its embrace.  The familiar classroom vanished into darkness. 


Som held on to the grill of the window in a hopeless bid to hold on to the faint light outside that was fast being replaced by dark eerie shadows of trees and shrubs. The black shadows of trees which waved their hands at him amid the strong gusts of rain were soon lost in the darkness that spread across the ground. The gloomy darkness inside the room shook hands with the darkness outside and their differences disappeared.
Time stood still… paralysed by the fear inside Som’s heart. The dread multiplied with each dragging minute. Som heard his own ragged breathing in the class where he often had to close his ears due to loud noise.  Now, the noise was replaced by a deafening silence.

Som huddled in the corner of the class clinging to his satchel, and wondered what his parents were doing at that moment.  ‘Had they come back home? Did they miss him yet? Were they searching frantically for him?’ Som kept his eyes closed, it was better that way , at least he could imagine that he was in that pit darkness because his eyes were shut. The benumbing fear made him doze off to a slumber.
A strange feeling made him jerk out of his slumber. ‘Had his parents come for him?’ He was about to get up from the foor at the corner of the class where he had fallen asleep, when a spooky feeling made him freeze. 

There were people moving around in the class.  No they were not people, for they were merely hushing sounds that glided weirdly over the floor. Som perceived ethereal, distant, muted sounds of people settling down in the class. The door did not open; yet he felt someone come in.  The ones inside stood up and sat down.

Terror gripped Som and he felt as if his heart would burst. Those phantom figures the class would hear the booming of his heart and come for him. He was petrified and felt woolly headed. A strong nausea made it impossible for him to keep his presence a secret.  He closed his palms over his mouth to prevent a shriek from escaping. His eyes were open wide yet he saw nothing but darkness.
Within the darkness he could make out darker shades of darkness.  The ghostly shadows sat where they had been sitting during their classes.  A bigger shadow sat on the teacher’s chair.


 Muted distant  sounds reached his ears almost similar to the louder sounds that they made everyday during their classes. The bigger shadow moved towards the board. A chill went down his spine as he pushed himself further towards the corner as if he would melt into the wall if the shadow came any nearer. 
The shadow did something on the board and the muffled sounds decreased.  As he watched the shadow move near him he felt something spiky creep up his neck . A chilling scream escaped him even as he dug his nails over his mouth in a bid to stop himself.
The other hand involuntarily grabed the spiky thing at the back of his neck. He felt a large cockroach in his hand and threw it away shaking like a leaf with fright. 
Eyes transfixed with terror he saw the shadows approach him. Faceless shadows loomed around him slowly,  bending down close for a better look.
The distant muffled sounds increased and transformed into  something like laughter. Terror gripped his throat until he choked in his own breath. His eyes widened in horror as the shadows surrounded him like thick smoke. He passed out as they came closer almost touching his face.

 The dull sounds continued to surround him as he floated from consciousness to unconsciousness.  He did not dare to open his eyes though his heart hammered away rapidly in an attempt to escape from the clutches of the spectral beings.
He heard his mother’s voice in his nightmarish dream. She was cuddling his head and loving him. He felt her tears on his face, and a few drops escaped his eyes. The shadows slapped him on his cheek laughing: then they jolted him away in order to take him with them.  He spread out his arms in terror pleading his mother rescue him from the harrowing ordeal. “Mammaaaa! Save meee! They are taking me away,” he wailed.


He felt the comforting arms of his mother around him. ” Nobody can take you away from me Som. I’m here.” he heard her sobbing, holding him tighter. Voices floated around, then something pricked his arm. He  breathed easy and drowned himself in a deep slumber.


When he opened his eyes he found himself in a hospital bed. His mother fast asleep on a chair beside his bed.
“Mamma!” he called out his voice was squeaky and strange.
Som’s mother woke up with a start and held him close as tears of joy flowed down her cheeks. 


Som’s parents had registered a police complaint when they failed to find him. The police had searched for him everywhere barricading all exits from the state.  Every car was searched at check-points to nab possible kidnappers. Som’s mother had rung up all his friends and when nobody could recall seeing him coming out of school with them, his mom had insisted on checking the class.
The Principal had accompanied them and he was found unconscious in his classroom about 3am in the morning. It had been five days of delirium before he had come to his senses.


Som told them of the shadows in the class and refused to go back to school . The mere thought of entering the class was a punishment for him. The school was near a cemetery and Som could not even imagine himself sitting on the very benches where the spirits had their school at night.
It was a good thing that his father got transferred to Bangalore. Som was happy to join the new school where he resume his schooling afresh.


‘Kalapalli Cemetery’ the sign read as their car sped through Old Madras Road towards the International school where he had taken his admission. Som, watching the city through the other window felt happy to have left that haunted old school for once and for all.

Photo by Maisa Borges

English Literature — International Journal of Research (IJR)

English literature refers to all the works that are written in English language.Literature of a country actually depicts the social,economic and political background of that country and gives the vivid idea of the changes that take place over the years. .Starting from short stories or novellas to novels and dramas,English literature is considered to be […]

English Literature — International Journal of Research (IJR)

Morning Blues

Photo by Julian Paolo Dayag

The sun is up too early,
It should have overslept;
My eyes under mutiny,
Refuses to open yet.

The sun is ever punctual,
If the clouds are not at hand;
Glowing like a rude master,
Goading all on the land.

Wake up! It yells with its rays,
Removing all speck of dark.
My mind revolts tyranny;
And abhors getting up to work.

I mildly listen to my mind,
And like the docile kind;
Get up and follow the orders,
And gently pull down the binds.

The helpless sun being shut out,
Fumes with its face all red.
I haplessly beg forgiveness,
And meekly return to bed.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Essay writing

                                                                    

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

An essay is a written composition in which the writer gives expression to his or her views on some topic. It may also give information on a subject, narrate an incident or even describe a place or event.

An essay is written on a given topic or subject. The word ‘Essay’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Exagium’ which means ‘to present one’s views’. Therefore essays are short compositions in which the writer presents an argument, experience, description or even explains something. An essay usually presents a subject from the writer’s personal viewpoint.

Essays can be formal or informal. Academic Essays are usually formal and deal with serious topics, whereas informal essays are personal and often have humorous elements in them.

Types of Essays

Depending on what the writer wants to convey to the readers. Essays maybe divided into the following types.

  1. Narrative
  2. Expository
  3. Descriptive
  4. Persuasive
  5. Argumentative
  6. Discursive
  7. Perspective
  8. Imaginative

Narrative Essays

To narrate is to tell someone about an incident or happening. In a narrative essay the writer narrates about an event or tells a story. These essays are written in the first person using ‘I’, ‘we’ etc. The aim of a narrative essay is to take the reader to that place and time of incident and to show through words what exactly took place. The aim is to bring about involvement of the reader through narration.

Descriptive Essays

 In this type of essay, the writer describes a place, an object, an event or some past incident. Descriptive essays are pictures painted in words. The reader is made to use the five senses to feel the emotions that the writer wants to convey through the clever use of words. Our brain can imagine situations by using our senses. So in a descriptive essay we make use of one of our senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell) to create an image in the mind of the reader. The reader should be made to feel that they have actually had the experience. It’s all about teasing the writer’s senses through imagery. For example if you are describing a forest- the trees, shrubs, leaves on the ground; the silence broken by sounds of animals and birds, everything needs to be described in detail to make the reader feel as if they are in the forest.

Persuasive Essays

The main aim of persuasive essay is to convince the reader to agree with the writer’s point of view. Both sides of the thesis need to be presented, but the reader must be convinced that the writer’s point of view carries more weight than the rest. This should be done by supporting the position with strong evidences. Persuasive essays are based on emotions and personal opinions, and require the knowledge of the reader’s mindset more than extensive research. The essay should be able to convince the reader to accept that the writer’s opinion is the correct one.

Argumentative Essay

The purpose of an argumentative essay is to convince the reader that the writer’s idea is true by using statistics. In these essays you have to use logic and reason to show that your view is more legitimate than others. You have to write either for or against the cause using formal and impersonal tone.  The introductory paragraph must convey your position through a clear thesis.  The body should have separate paragraphs for each point with detailed evidence to defend your position. Transitional words should be used to guide readers through the arguments in an organised manner. End with a compelling conclusion to win over the readers mind.

Discursive Essay

In this type of an essay you need to provide an unbiased and reliable assessment on a subject.  Different points of view are discussed or argued in order to find out the correct one. As in argumentative essay you may have a strong point of view on the subject and put it forward after exploring different perspectives, but it is not essential to do so. You may simply put forward both sides of the view in a balanced manner.

Expository Essays

This type of essay is also known as Explanatory essay in which the writer presents a balanced study of a topic.  These topics may be on economy, science, literature and so on. In these essays facts are presented based on examples, proven data and statistics. There is no place for the writer’s feelings or emotions. The writer presents the exposition after extensive research on the subject.

Perspective / Reflective essays

A personal perspective essay presents the writers opinion on a subject. These essays present a reflection or thought on some subject – on an idea arising in the mind. The subject is usually of an abstract nature – for e.g.  Habits, society, politics, philosophy, religion, theology and so on. The subjects are presented through reason and the statements are supported with arguments and facts.

Imaginative Essays

Essays in which writers imagine themselves in a situation they have never been, and write about it are imaginative ones. Topics such as ‘My trip to an alien planet’ or ‘The autobiography of a laptop’ would call for imaginative essays.

Structure of an Essay (Essay Format)

An essay is basically divided into three parts.

The Introduction

The Body

The Conclusion

The Introduction- This is the entrance to your essay. It should be arresting, concise and pertinent to the topic of the essay. You may give a brief synopsis of the essay to help the reader understand what the essay is about. The introduction may consist of a definition or a quotation, proverb, a rhetorical question or a very brie story that can hook the reader to the essay.

The Body – This is the main part of the essay where the action takes place. The main content comes here. The body can be extended to a number of paragraphs with each paragraph carrying a valid point that strengthens the essay. Proportion should be followed and due weightage should be given to all the points. It is very important to follow a logical sequence in a systematic manner so that the reader is not confused. Avoid repetitions and unnecessary use of words.

The Conclusion – This is the exit paragraph of the essay and should provide a feeling of completeness and satisfaction to the reader.  It is a place to sum up the argument or story leaving no threads hanging about. A good conclusion may include a moral, a conclusion drawn from the topic or a striking quotation that nails the topic sentence.

Tips for writing a Good Essay

  1. Select a topic that you are most passionate about.
  2. Clearly define the subject in your own words.
  3. Do not make the essay too short or unnecessarily long. The ideal length is usually 300 to 500 words though you may increase or decrease it according to requirement.
  4. Think over the essay until relevant points come to your mind. Jot them down as they come.
  5. Make a bare outline by selecting the points and classifying them under suitable headings to be elaborated into paragraphs.
  6. Organise the paragraphs in a chronological order.
  7. Keep the language crisp and simple avoiding unnecessary superfluous words. They break the flow and complicate the sentence.
  8. Avoid spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and punctuate correctly.
  9. Make the introduction arresting.
  10. Use separate paragraphs for each important point in the body.
  11. Make the conclusion effective and satisfying.
  12. Write in a direct, simple, clear, concise and natural style.

The secret of a good essay lies in the clarity of thought of the writer. So think clearly and write directly, as briefly and as simply as possible. Bringing simplicity in writing is easier said than done but can definitely be acquired through practice.

True ease in writing comes from art not chance;

As those move easiest who have learned to dance,

Pope

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

How to Overcome self-doubt as a Writer

This is a motivating post by Lorrain Ambers for writers, especially the first time ones. I loved the quotes that nail the doubts and inspires the writer in you.

Lorraine Ambers

A lack of faith or confidence in our ability as an artist is something all writers struggle with. Sometimes it’s fleeting like a summer breeze, other times, it lingers like a winter  frost. So how do we navigate the storm and overcome self-doubt?

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We’ve all heard the little gremlins, but what makes us carry on despite the crippling fear. One of my favourite quotes is by Suzy Kassem. She hits the proverbial nail on the head with her wise words. 

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem.

Sometimes it’s the shove I need to keep going, to keep trying. I cling to the hope that tomorrow I’ll believe in myself once again.

Dream Big and Let Nothing Hold You Back Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

For me, perseverance is the only option. In the past, I’ve buried myself in a double quilt, hidden in Netflix series whilst gorging on chocolate: The ultimate self-pity…

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