We could read a good essay about how to wallpaper around a window or a bathroom vanity, but it would be much better to watch a videotape of the same process.
There are some things that are much better seen than read.
Don’t write about something that is too complicated. You don’t like being overwhelmed by directions, and you don’t want to overwhelm your reader.
Don’t try to write a brief process essay about something that needs an instruction manual. Also, don’t write about something that needs to be accompanied by visual aids.
After you press these buttons, it sometimes takes a few minutes for the computer to start up and go through its own set-up process and automatically check for new computer viruses.
There is nothing for you to do but twiddle your thumbs while this is happening, so practice your thumb-twiddling beforehand so you look like a pro.
There is a temptation to connect each sentence with “And then,” “then,” “and then.” That’s all right when Aunt Gloria is telling you how to make meatloaf, but it’s boring in an essay.
Try writing the essay with all the ‘s you want, and then go back and eliminate most of them; you’ll probably find you don’t need most of them. Don’t number the steps of your essay, and avoid using words like “secondly,” “thirdly,” etc.
If you’re going to write about how to make a soufflé, don’t start with the eggs.
Start with how you’d feel if your new mother-in-law came over for dinner and your souffleé came out looking like a pile of scrambled eggs — and then tell your readers how they’ll feel if they do things your way!