Introductions: Waiting Until the End
Wednesday, September 01, 2010 Paragraphs
By Jessica Barron, Graduate Writing Tutor
I dread creating introductions to my papers. A blank MS Word document is quite intimidating, and I know that the opening sentences of my introduction should and will set the tone for my whole paper. Not only do I want the first sentence to grab my reader’s attention, but I want the rest of the paragraph to set the stage for my thesis statement. Because my anxiety often overshadows the actual paper I have outlined in my head, composing introductions is the last task I complete in my writing process.
“But, Jess, it’s called an introduction for a reason! Your whole paper will be disorganized if you just start in the middle.” This might be true, but as long as you have a solid outline that flows smoothly between topics and a strong thesis statement that encompasses the argument of your paper, why couldn’t you write your third section first? I mean, who ever said that you have to write your paper in order? Whatever mood I’m in when I sit down at my computer dictates what section I begin to write.
How do I overcome my introduction anxiety? Once I get into my writing groove and have a rough draft of the body of my paper, the anxiety begins to dissolve, and I am able visualize my first paragraph. I know what my paper is about and what background information my reader needs to know, and because I’ve already written my thesis, I just need to add transitions to link this statement to my newly created opening sentences. Forming an introduction can be quite a simple task once I know what I am introducing.
So, any other writers out there who are stuck on an introductory paragraph, try putting the task aside for a day. See if you, like me, prefer constructing the beginning of your paper near the end of your writing process.