At certain points of our lives, we all have to write something. Whether we write it to communicate, to express our ideas and emotions or simply we are forced by our teachers to write as part of our academic requirements. One problem we often face is how to write our thoughts down in way that people will understand it the way we want them to understand it. Writing is like painting a picture, only that we do it inside the readers’ heads and we use words and not colors. So some find it difficult to write because they knowledge, experience and style in writing. You might well be surprised when you learn that writing is not really as difficult as they say; all you need is to get well acquainted with the key elements of a paragraph and from there you can start writing even longer essays or reports.
Organization is the key to a good paragraph. If you are trying to capture the minds of your readers and make them understand what you are trying to express, make sure that you organize your ideas well before and during you write them. There are different kinds of organizations strategies that you can use to effectively arrange your thoughts. You can organize your idea according to importance, where you can choose to start from general to specific or vice versa, or from the most important to the least important (vice versa). It is best to use this method when you are writing about a certain issue, or you are expressing your opinion and/or stand about it. You can also choose to arrange your ideas in chronological order, this method works best when you are telling a story and/or giving out instructions. Using the chronological method will help your readers understand which happened first or which should be done first. There is also the spatial organization, which organizes your ideas according to space. We often use this method when we describe a certain area or place. We need to have a standpoint or point of reference where you will start and start onwards, clockwise, counterclockwise or whatever direction you choose but making sure you continue following that flow. After you have organized your ideas, you are now ready to start writing them in a paragraph.
Each paragraph starts with a topic sentence. A topic sentence states the main idea and focus of the paragraph. It also summarizes the main idea of the paragraph, controls the flow of the paragraphs and introduces the readers what they will be reading about. There are certain scenarios though that a paragraph does not need a topic sentence, for example you are writing about a series of events, if you are developing the same idea mentioned in the previous paragraph or if the sentences details clearly the main focus of your paragraph. In some cases, it is also effective to put another sentence before the topic sentence. This is true when you are developing a multiple paragraph essay and you need to provide a transition between paragraphs or providing background information.
After you have developed and stated your topic sentence, you need to support them using several series of sentences which will prove the idea your claim. These sentences are called supporting sentences. They provide details about your topic and focus. There are several ways to support your topic sentence. You can give examples, state a clear comparison and contrast, use facts from expert studies, give a detailed analysis and logically state your argument.
Some paragraphs contains concluding sentences or transitory sentences. Concluding sentences, as the name suggests, ends the paragraph. You can do this in a variety of manner; you can ask a question related to your topic sentence, summarize the main points of your paragraph without using the same words and/or leave an opinion to which your readers will agree or disagree with. Transitory sentences on the other hand do not end the paragraph, rather they provide transition to a different idea or topic for the next paragraph, especially when you are developing multiple paragraphs for a longer piece of written article. Transitory sentences also come in various ways; you can also ask questions, state a fact or figure from a latest statistic coupled with your opinion (this opens the new topic for the next paragraph), use quotations or anecdotes related to the topic. There are other ways to do this, you can be creative as you can and as you are. There is no hard and fast rule in doing this, new ideas and techniques are always welcome from new writers.
Once you have mastered these basic paragraph writing skills, you will be ready to write more. Essays, research papers, book reports and reviews and other form of writings are arranged in a series of paragraphs (unless you are writing poetry which is arranged using stanzas), that is why when you have mastered the skills of writing a paragraph, everything else will follow. So if you want to start writing essays and other longer write ups and works, start mastering the key elements of paragraph first and move on to the longer once when you are ready to write more.