How to Avoid Writing on Overused Essay Topics

When it comes to writing a great essay, it’s always a good idea to select topics that are unique and original. Not only will your audience be more interested in what you have to say, but your own work will be much better if you write on a topic that you are interested and invested in. But how do you avoid writing on overused essay topics? Here are some ideas:

Combine topics from previously publish works.

You may think it’s a bad idea to peruse essay topics found in journals or books, but you can draw many fine essay ideas and use some creativity to turn them into entirely new topics. And affective way to accomplish this is to take two independent but related topics and thinking of ways you can combine them to create a unique sub-topic that is all your own. This method should help you throughout your academic career and give you tremendous practice in conducting research.

Swap keywords or focus on a different component.

Another great way of developing an essay topic that isn’t overused is taking an existing topic and swapping out one or two components to create a fresh topic. For instance, say you find an article on medicinal plants of the Western U.S., you can swap out “medicinal plants” with “poisonous plants” as well as exchange “Western U.S.” with “Eastern” or “Central U.S.” This method will also serve you well when you need to narrow the focus of future research papers or term papers you’re likely to encounter down the line.

Base your topic on original questions and conversations you have.

Sometimes all you need to do to avoid writing on an overused topic is to brainstorm a few questions or take some notes from conversations you have with peers. These topics often develop out of thin air and will bring up some pretty interesting stuff that you are genuinely curious about. Write down your ideas and see if you could create full-fledged sub-topics. With enough practice you’ll find that you’re often thinking of original topics throughout the day.

Don’t look at essay topic lists for ideas.

The simplest way to avoid overusing an essay topic is to completely refrain from looking at essay lists. There are books, websites, chatrooms, and forums devoted entirely to providing essay topics for students from every grade level to use in their classes. The problem is, of course, is that you have no idea just how many students have already used these topics. It goes without saying you’d be pretty embarrassed to find that your “original” topic is chosen by more than one student in your class.

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