Does the mere mention of the words "thesis statement" piss you off? Most of us have lingering memories of red ink on papers from high school saying something like "Where's your thesis statement?" Back in 1989, Dr. Mooney made me revise one of mine about 50 times. I still received a B+ on the paper, but I was proud. I knew that my thesis was an A and that the other crap was a B+.
Where we get it wrong
Our teachers drilled us on thesis statements because they are so important to make an essay work. They keep both you and the reader focused on the essence of the paper. As a teacher of college students, they groan when I broach the topic. I find euphemisms that are less painful, "the focus sentence" or the "intent statement," but they are too savvy. This applies to you too, so stop moaning. Yes, they are essential in blog posts, but they do not have to be a pain.
The problem is that most of us were never specifically taught how to create one. When I ask a student to point out their thesis to me, they hunt around the introduction area for a sentence that looks thesis-ish. This is the first problem. A thesis does not accidently land in your blog post. You have to create one specifically. But, most students are simply told that a thesis statement is what their papers are about. That's no explanation.
How to get it right
Try writing 10 sentences (not really) on what your post is about, and every single one will be lame. So, forget all your preconceptions about them, and let's start from the beginning with a graphic.
A thesis statement captures the essence of a piece of writing by revealing the topic, point of view, and plan in a single sentence.
Thesis statements are that easy. Just like a math problem, if you plug in the right pieces, you'll get the right answer. You start with the topic, which is your specific subject, not the general area. For example, here I am writing about thesis statement for blog posts, not about good writing. Good writing is too general, and you could slap it on any paper about writing. So, the specific topic is key.
Point of view
The angle the you take to write about the topic is your point of view. This should be unique to your blog post, or it's not worth writing. You want to add an individual perspective to the subject you address, your personal touch. For example, here I am claiming that thesis statements are essential for blog posts and that they are easy.
The outline of how you are going to get your reader to see your point of view on the topic is your plan. By outline, I'm not referring to a detailed map, but just a phrase or two about where you are headed. For example, I am planning to show you how to easily put a thesis together by talking about the basic elements and how they fit.
These are all the pieces we need, now we need to just build the damn thing. In this post, I've already done the work as I have guided you through each step. When you combine the elements, make sure that the sentence flows nicely for the reader. So, here is what the thesis for this post looks like in graphic form (compare it to the graphic above).
Example for this blog post: Thesis statements are essential and easy for blog posts because they guide the reader using the topic, point of view, and plan.
There you have it, a solid, specific thesis that guides the reader through this blog post and helps to keep them focused. As I remind my students, you have to intentionally write a thesis statement, rather than just picking a sentence that looks good.
I hope this helps resolve the hard feelings you still harbor against that high school or college teacher. If you use this method, you will strengthen your writing, draw in more readers, and satisfy them more completely.
Good luck trying this out on your next post! Let me know how it goes.
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Before you go, share some thoughts with us. Do you currently use thesis statements? Do you think they are hogwash? What advice would you add or subtract? Thank you so much for being here.
By Darin L. Hammond
Writer for ZipMinis and owns ZipMinis Freelance Writing.
Darin Publishes across the web on sites like Technorati
BC Blog, and Social Media Today.