mindmapparent nodes: [defining the problem] | [introduction] | [rhetorical situation] | [writer's block]

position

Working out what to do about an essay has to depend on what you are in a position to write about the topic. For example, as a student you are not a recognized academic authority, so your essay has to refer to published sources by such authorities. To be able to construct a definite timetable for writing the essay, you need operationalize the problem represented by the essay by identifying concrete activities or strategies which will take you nearer completing it. An important aspect of operationalizing the essay-writing process is to break it down into writing phases, and engage in the reflective practice of asking yourself as you go along which phase you are currently in - if you don't do this, it is easy to develop writer's block because you feel that you aren't making progress.

Devising a conclusion is also a useful way of making your ideas about the essay more concrete, as it gives you a goal to aim for when you're writing. Since its purpose is to aid the writing and thinking process, this conclusion needs to be open-ended, suggesting ways in which your argument might develop further rather than seeking to close it down through unargued assertions or simple repetition of what you've already said.