3 Tips for Writing an Essay with a “Boring Topic”

I get it. Just because I’m a Writing Center tutor doesn’t mean I don’t understand that sometimes essays can be boring. And when they’re boring, it’s easy to put off writing the paper until the last minute, which invites a whole host of problems.

My fellow students, it doesn’t have to be this way! Together, we can come up with ways to conquer the mountain that is an essay with a boring assigned topic. Try these four tips for success:

Tip One: Visit the Writing Center!
I know, I know, shameless self-plug here. But here’s the thing: we’re here to help you, and we can do that at all stages of the writing process! Need to brainstorm? We’ve got some storm clouds* for you. Need an outline? We’ve got pen and paper. Need to find a way to make your topic interesting? We can totally do that with you! We have tutors available in all subjects, not just English. If you’re finding a science paper boring, come visit one of our tutors that’s in the science program! They’ll be happy to help, and hearing someone who’s passionate about the subject might just help spark some ideas.

Tip Two: Find Something Interesting About It
Find something within your topic that sparks your interest. Maybe there’s a thread of a story you read for your English class, the one you have the ten-page paper on, and you want to explore that one thread further. Maybe there’s a throwaway comment your teacher made during math class about the history of pi, and you find that fascinating, and now you get to write a ten-page paper on that. Maybe you can take the period of history that you’re supposed to be writing about and find one interesting person whose past you want to explore further. The possibilities are endless!

Tip Three: Surrender
Sometimes, in spite of all of the attempts to engage with the topic, there’s just nothing that can be done to make a boring topic more interesting. And that’s okay! That doesn’t mean that the essay you write is going to be a bad one, it just means you’ll have to use different strategies. The fact is that we write better when we’re interested in the topics we’re writing about, but it doesn’t mean an uninteresting topic is un-writeable. Instead, take a breath, plan, and write.

And remember, no matter how boring you think your topic is, we’re here at the Writing Center, ready and willing to help you out. We won’t complain about the topic, but we will walk you through planning, pre-writing, research, or any other stage of the writing process you need help with.

–Katy

*Please note, the Writing Center does not actually contain storm clouds, nor do we encourage the use of storm clouds inside. Lightning is a dangerous, people.