Creating the first Paragraph of your Essay

The first paragraph you write is arguably one of the most important. You may be asking why? What’s so special about the introduction? Think about it from the reader’s point of view. Do the first few sentences need to be exciting or compelling for you to want to keep reading? The introduction must catch the reader’s attention.

You may discover, like so many other writers that you just can’t seem to get the words out onto the paper or computer screen? Why is that? Why is it so hard to get started? Could be because you don’t have any writing momentum yet, or you just don’t know how to start out.

Here’s some good news if you are one of the struggling writers: write the first paragraph of your essay last. Yes, it does sound backwards, doesn’t it? Fact is, your first paragraph introduces your essay. If your essay isn’t written yet, how will you know how to introduce it?

Here are 3 tips to writing your opening paragraph:

  1. Don’t forget the note-taking part of essay writing. Some people call this the pre-writing stage. It includes research, reading and note taking, organizing your notes into categories and writing your essay outline. Use all this information to polish up your thesis statement.
  2. Tell the reader what the problem is, and then solve it using your thesis. The opening statement will present the problem, the thesis tells the reader how it will be solved (ie what the purpose is for this essay).
  3. What else will the reader learn when they read your essay? Use words to guide your reader’s mind to find answers in your essay. When writing the introduction last, this part is so easy to do. You just look over what information is being presented in the body of your essay, summarize it and include it in the first paragraph.

It’s not hard to do when you follow these three easy steps. The first draft of your opening paragraph can be written as quick and slick as can be after you figure out the secret of writing it last. Many writing coaches suggest the thesis goes at the beginning of the first paragraph. Others claim it should go at the end of the first paragraph. Wherever you choose to place it, make sure it is concise and the purpose of the thesis statement is clear.