National Essay Day takes place on February 28, the birthday of Michel de Montaigne, who was the author of the first-ever writings called ‘essays.’ This day encourages students to unleash their inner writers and compose essays on different topics. This lets them explore idea generation and writing freely and without stern academic guidelines and restrictions.
History of National Essay Day
An essay is usually a piece of writing used to put forth the author’s argument on a specific topic. Essays, which are often classified as formal or informal, can be written on a wide range of themes for a variety of objectives. From the beginning of time until now, essays have been and will be of important literary value.
One of the most prominent players in the history of essays is Michel de Montaigne. He is regarded as one of the most important philosophers of the French Renaissance, and he is credited with popularizing the essay as a literary genre. Among many others, De Montaigne impacted the works of Francis Bacon, Voltaire, Virginia Woolf, Sigmund Freud, Edward Darwin, and even William Shakespeare.
De Montaigne published a large collection of short, subjective essays on different topics which were called ‘Essais’. This was inspired by his study of the classics and intended to describe humans and himself with utter frankness. These writings are divided into three books and cover 107 chapters of varying lengths. Aside from their intriguing and compelling subject, these pieces became well-known for their style. A decade after De Montaigne’s essays were published, Francis Bacon released his Essay collections, which are thought to be directly influenced by De Montaigne’s.
As a ripple effect, essays grew in popularity and usage as time went by and are still a very common part of the written language. Essays allow us to explore and communicate our thoughts, arguments, and findings in a structured yet freeway that enables our minds to take the wheel. Essay writing is a great skill to have and practicing from a young age is supremely beneficial in not just a creative writing aspect but also in terms of letting your thoughts and ideas flow. National Essay Day is celebrated every year to encourage this incredible practice.
National Essay Day timeline
De Montaigne publishes his collection called “Essais.”
Bacon publishes his collection of essays.
Edmund Burke and Samuel Taylor Coleridge write essays for the general public.
One Freelance Limited creates National Essay Day.
National Essay Day FAQs
How do you write a good essay?
Some characteristics of a good essay are a well-defined argument, evidence, reasoning, and scholarship. They are also written clearly.
What are the different parts of an essay?
An essay generally contains an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. This varies depending on the length and topic of the essay.
How do you define an essay?
An essay is a short formal or informal piece of writing which deals primarily with a single subject.
National Essay Day Activities
Write an essay
This could be formal or informal — a serious topic or something casual and humorous. About politics or about the last movie you watched. Just pick up your writing tool of choice and write an essay today.
Read an essay
Or more. There is an endless archive of essays available online. Choose a topic or author whose work you’ve been meaning to read and dive in. You could even read one of De Montaigne’s essays.
Give an essay topic
This is a day to encourage students to get comfortable with essay writing. If you have a student within your friends and family, encourage them to participate in this day and maybe give them a topic to write about.
5 Interesting Facts About Writing
There’s a word for everything
The word ‘colygraphia’ means writer’s block.
It can be miniature
Peter Bales reportedly made a handwritten copy of the “Bible” so small it could fit inside a walnut shell.
Inspiration comes in many ways
Edith Sitwell reportedly liked to lie in an open coffin before she began her day’s writing.
You can set your own limits
Graham Greene would write 500 words a day and then stop — even in the middle of a sentence.
Not every writer can write
Agatha Christie suffered from dysgraphia, which meant she could not write legibly so she dictated all of her novels.
Why We Love National Essay Day
It takes us back to the roots
A majority of us do a significant amount of essay writing during our early years but then lose touch along the way. National Essay Day serves as a timely reminder to return to our roots and engage in this rich creative process.
It helps us stay engaged
In today’s day, and age we are all bombarded with information, thoughts, and ideas from multiple different channels all day. Instead of passively taking in what we're told, essay writing helps us to slow down and listen to our own views before further communicating them.
It is good for you
Essay writing stimulates brain development and vastly improves critical thinking skills. It results in thought clarity and can help improve vocabulary as well. Additionally, essay writing can assist some people to alleviate stress.
National Essay Day dates