1. Do not write, “This essay is about…” or “In this essay, I will discuss…” Just launch directly into the topic. 2. Do not write a brilliant introduction on the wrong topic. A bang-up introduction does no good if the essay is off-topic, so make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are supposed to be writing about before putting pen to paper. 3. Do not use the same opening strategy all the time. Beginning every essay with a quotation or definition gets old. Mix it up. 4. Do not get hung up on employing the introduction openers recommended here. They are meant to help, not hinder. Getting in a panic over trying to force one of these techniques may result in writer’s block. The best writing happens when the writer finds a personal connection with the topic and lets the words flow.
If you keep reading and skimming articles and books, you will find many different discussions and possibilities for writing topics. One way to do this is to write a list of binaries, a list of opposing ideas that may represent larger discussions about the topic at hand. Choosing from these opposing ideas in the text will lead you to ideas for a more specific argument. Scholars frequently engage in complex and long-lasting arguments that span across different journal articles and books. Professor X's article on climate change will be mentioned, discussed, or challenged by Professor Y in a book and Professor Z in another article. None of them are worried about saying things that have never been said before; the key is just to say them differently and perhaps better.