Effective Guideline on How to Write a Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essays are more fun to write than just about any other kind of essay you could be assigned because you’re allowed the freedom to use colorful language and explore your own senses. Such an essay must still be taken seriously, of course -- just because it gets to be colorful doesn’t mean it should be abstract, free form prose. Here are some ideas as to how to write your descriptive essay.

Brainstorm First

The process of writing just about any essay must start out with brainstorming, but with a descriptive essay there are a few things you could do to prepare to write.

  • Of course, brainstorm for a topic idea. Make a list, run it by a few friends, narrow it down and do a search online if you need to. For a descriptive essay, an online search may not even be necessary since there is likely little to no research required.
  • This part will help you practice: brainstorm a few simple things about which to write a practice paragraph.
  • Choose mundane things, like your cat, or what it’s like to take the first drink out of a can of soda. Pick about three of those and then challenge yourself to write a vivid paragraph about it. This will get your creative juices flowing and get you acquainted with the sort of language that will be useful to you when you write your essay.

Outline and Organize

Because your essay is probably getting graded, you still have to pay attention to organization and layout. You simply must fit your vivid language into the constructs required of an essay.

  • Create an outline before you even start writing. This is a crucial step for any essay, but for a descriptive essay, it may help you to include in each paragraph or section of your outline words and phrases you may want to use relating to that subtopic.
  • Organize your essay in a way that flows and makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense to you, it surely won’t make sense to your reader. Every paragraph needs a topic sentence and a conclusion, same as any other essay.

Finish Strong

A descriptive essay needs a particularly strong conclusion to top off the level of detail described within the essay itself.

  • Reflect on how you perceive what you’re describing now versus how you perceived what you described (if you wrote about something from the past)
  • Describe what became of the thing (if you’re writing about something that once existed and now doesn’t, like an ex or a building that got torn down)
  • Make the reader empathize or relate. If you’re talking about coffee, make your reader finish the essay wanting a cup of coffee.