The Essays Only You Can Write offers a perspective on essay writing that spotlights a writer’s uniqueness. Resisting the perception that personal and academic writing are at odds with one another, it treats the impulse to write “personally” as potential fuel for a variety of writing purposes.
The book encourages students to think like academics—pursuing their enthusiasms, trusting their ideas, and questioning their conclusions—by leading them through three main writing assignments: a personal essay, an essay based on texts, and a research essay. Each chapter offers exercises and strategies for various stages in the pre-writing, drafting, and revision processes. Freewriting; extensive attention to planning; devising a structure and order of ideas that both promote and reflect engagement with a topic; developing rhetorical awareness and knowledge of conventions; and an advocacy for expressive, socially-responsible writing—all are central elements of the text’s instruction.
By acknowledging the emotions inherent in the writing process, many of which can muddle thinking—I don’t want anyone to see this; what if I make mistakes?; what if the writing isn’t good?; I don’t want to be critiqued; etc.—Papoulis helps beginning college writers to navigate the psychological as well as the technical roadblocks that can get in the way of their best personal and academic writing.