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What Is the Main Idea of Writing an Essay?

The main idea of an essay is basically the major point you will make when you put all the sub points and evidence together. It’s important that your essay, or any piece of writing for that matter, have a main idea or your reader may quickly become bored or easily confused with your work. Usually a main idea is developed after you’ve brainstormed for a bit and have come up with some ideas relating to your essay prompt. Here are some ways to help you develop a main idea:

Develop an idea map and make connections:

A great way of developing a main idea is to first create an idea map or brainstorm of your thoughts. You can create a spider web-style idea map or a column-style idea map, choose whichever you are more comfortable with. The point is that you get all of your ideas down in some form so that you can organize and develop even more ideas.

Make connections between your ideas. Ask yourself some questions about how your different ideas are related to one another. You may only need a word or a phrase to explain this connection but as long as you get something down you may find some commonalities between seemingly disparate ideas. Rearrange your idea map so that related ideas are placed together.

Decide which idea responds best to the essay prompt:

Have a look at your cluster of ideas and see which one addresses your essay prompt the best. You should look back at your prompt and highlight some keywords or components. Your idea cluster should address every part of a multi-part essay prompt. If you think that none of your ideas fully address the assignment, then see if you can further develop the ideas of your preferred idea cluster.

Once you find your preferred cluster, go through and identify what the central point is – this will be the basis for your main idea. Ask yourself what it is you want to say about this idea and you will have the content you need to draft a thesis statement.

Developing a main idea isn’t a difficult task, and the exercises you go through to develop one, as expressed above, go a long way in preparing you to write a great essay. So try to make brainstorming a regular step in the process and you’ll find that your essays will always have a main idea worth writing about.