Your essay is bound to be boring if all you do is paraphrase what everyone else says about something.
A good essay – in humanities subjects, at least – incorporates the writer’s intelligent responses to what others say, and this critical consideration not only shows that you’re thinking at a high academic level, but it automatically adds more interest and originality to your writing.
When you read a lot, you subconsciously start emulating the style of the writers you read.
It’s therefore beneficial to read widely, as this exposes you to a range of styles and you can start to take on the characteristics of those you find interesting to read.
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to make your writing more interesting, even though you can only do so much while remaining within the formal confines of academic writing. If there’s one thing guaranteed to inject interest into your writing, it’s actually being interested in what you’re writing about.
Passion for a subject comes across naturally in your writing, typically making it more lively and engaging, and infusing an infectious enthusiasm into your words – in the same way that it’s easy to chat knowledgeably to someone about something you find interesting.
As you can see in this example, the active voice almost always results in neater and more elegant phrasing, which is more concise and enjoyable to read.
There’s clearly a limit to the amount of actual ‘story-telling’ you can do when you’re writing an essay; after all, essays should be objective, factual and balanced, which doesn’t, at first glance, feel very much like story-telling.
Another factor that can make an essay boring is a dry subject matter.
Some subjects or topic areas are naturally dry, and it falls to you to make the essay more interesting through your written style (more on this later) and by trying to find fascinating snippets of information to include that will liven it up a bit and make the information easier to relate to.