Introductions: Waiting Until the End -->

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Introductions: Waiting Until the End


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.


  1. This approach is exciting yet it works! A thesis statement is the foundation upon which an entire writeup is build on.Such an approach in writing is determined by the outline.It enables the writer to move in his/her work with speed but also be ready for a re-organization of the work as need may dictate.

    On the other hand, it is important to be careful in-order to avoid a disjointed essay.

    1. Exactly! We often call the thesis statement a "working thesis" because writers write and revise the thesis up until the completion of the paper. This approach works well because sometimes writers don't even know their final thesis statement until they have drafted their conclusion! You're right, though, that writers should check that their paper aligns--with any writing approach, but perhaps particularly when writing the introduction last.