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A 400 word essay

In our previous tutorials, we’ve covered how to write the best essays in different number of words like 500 words and 300 words. The length of an article does not affect its quality; instead, it harnesses its clarity. If you are writing a long essay, then you will provide numerous details and illustrations to support your points. But, when the article is less than a thousand words, you need to discuss every point in its paragraph.

A 400 word essay provides you with the chance to express yourself in the fewest, most concise words possible. Thus, you need to stick to the points and follow the recommended outline effectively. This allows your audience to understand your argument in a quick simple way.

Professionals, especially those practicing law, journalism and communication are often required to write 400-word essays. Students in high schools, elementary and college levels are also needed to hand in their answers or views in 400 words. The complexity of such an essay depends on whether you are doing it at advanced levels or at school. Apart from good mastery of written language, you also need to be concise and informative.

Essay Outline:

Title: ‘How to Stay Motivated and Focused’.

  1. Introduction paragraph
    1. Hook– Self motivation is the surest way to stay focused.
    2. Thesis: Facing challenges and achieving success requires focus; and, this means we need to be responsible for our own motivation.
    3. Transition: The following ideas will help you stay focused and motivated in your work or studies.
  1. Body Paragraph 1:
    1. Point: Know thyself
    2. Illustration: Socrates in the Temple of Apollos
    3. Logic: Knowing strengths and weaknesses
    4. Thesis relation
  1. Body Paragraph 2:
    1. Point: Desire for success
    2. Illustration: Set realistic goals, celebrate achievement
    3. Explanation: Find motivating factors
    4. Thesis relation
  1. Body Paragraph 3:
    1. Point: Death and finite time
    2. Illustrations: Steve Jobs, Henry Rolling, infinite ability and finite time
    3. Explanation: Avoid regrets, lead a successful life
    4. Thesis relation
  1. Conclusion paragraph
    1. Restatement of thesis
    2. Summary of essay
    3. Signing out

Essay Example

Self-motivation is the surest way to stay focused. Nearly all the greatest tasks in life are tests to our motivation. Facing challenges and achieving success requires focus; and, this means we need to be responsible for our own motivation. People who are motivated towards achieving their goals are focused towards success. The following ideas will help you stay focused and motivated in your work and studies.

First, you should study yourself. You need to find out what you like, hate or freaks you out. According to Socrates, knowing thyself is the basic understanding of nature. If you know your strengths and weaknesses, it’s easy to find your motivations. Once you’ve understood yourself, you can now get to find out what inspires you and the best way to face challenges. This will help you fight negative energy and use it to undertake important tasks. Thus, understanding what you are good at would lead you into living a motivated and focused life.

Second, you should have a desire to feel the pride of success. Cultivate a strong aspiration for achieving your goals. This is possible if you set viable goals and celebrate every time you hit them. You could thank yourself for hitting daily goals by eating something you like. Or, you can set on a trip or weekend getaway as a way of rewarding yourself for achieving a year’s goals. This will give you a drive to work harder and become more diligent with what you do. The desire to get the reward will help you stay focused and motivated in your endeavors.

Third, you can use death as a reason to stay focused. As Henry Rollins said, humans have infinite potential that is hindered by a finite time. Steve Jobs says that he never had as much productive time as after he was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer. In the realization that death is as sure as dawn, you will utilize your time well. Time well spent in working towards the achievement of goals is the basic catalyst for success. Have a schedule to avoid wasting yours on unnecessary activities. Appreciating that life is short will keep you focused and motivated.

No doubt, the best way to stay focused in your work is to motivate yourself. Death, pride and knowing thyself are some of the surest ways to keep you in the game. If you follow this advice, you will lead a successful life.

Tips of writing the perfect 400 word essay

Research on your topic

It’s tempting to write stuff from scratch, and put down ideas directly from your mind. However, the reader will need to learn something new. The audience is not interested in fluffy content. Readers want to have new skills, and possible behavioral change after reading your essay. So, you should focus on convincing them that your idea is the best. Remember, the most effective essay is that which is credible. So, carry out intensive research about the topic and provide enough data to support your arguments.

Prepare the outline

Do not just jump into writing the essay without a plan. When your work is organized, you will find it easy to stick to the subject. An outline is the best way to plan for the essay. Remember, you need to know how many words will be featured in support of each point. This will be easy if you have the right structure. Apart from helping you to be brief, the outline will make your work neat. If you are in an exam room and you are needed to write a 400 word essay, be sure to spend about five minutes planning.

Edit your work

Scoring a grade A in your essay depends on how well you can write flawlessly. It is not possible to be perfect- of course we’re all human. However, if you really want to be an excellent writer, then you must try to have zero mistakes. So, after you are done scripting your essay, have time for reading it. Go through the essay about three times after you have written it. The first read will help you realize the grammar errors you may have made. The second will give you the insight on which sentences are useful and which aren’t. The third will be about polishing the article from an audience’ perspective.

Include the references

Writing a good essay means that you will need to carry out enough research. And, you will definitely need to acknowledge the sources for the information that you have used in your article. Thus, you should have a space where you can list down the references of the content used. This not only prevents plagiarism, but also gives your article a sense of credibility. Remember, the more credible your article is, the more the audience will believe in it- and definitely, the more marks you will score.

Elements of the essay


Every essay that you ever write needs to be well titled. An essay that doesn’t have a heading lacks identity. Look for a short statement that covers what the essay is about. In our context, the title is ‘How to Stay Motivated and Focused’. Our essay cannot discuss anything else apart from what the title has suggested. The title should be short and able to communicate the message or meaning of the essay efficiently. Remember to capitalize the main words of the title using the title format.

Introduction Paragraph

This is the part where you state your thesis. It’s the most important part of the article as it provides the reader with the urge to read. A good introduction paragraph will grab the audience’ attention and make them want to read the whole essay. On the other hand, an awful introduction will just put your audience away. So, you should make it captivating. Short, mind-provoking and sweet sentences are the best for this paragraph. In a 400 word essay, the introduction part has about 50 words.

Start with the hook

This is a general statement in your introduction that summarizes the essay. It captures the reader’s attention from a general perspective. The hook is different from the thesis; while the former is a general statement, the latter focuses on the essay alone. In short, the hook is the meta-theme of the 400 word essay.

Example: ‘Self-motivation is the surest way to stay focused.’

The thesis is the root of the introduction. You need to use such a sentence to sum up the article. The thesis is basically the sentence that carries the meaning of the essay. It is short and summative in nature. For instance, in our essay, the thesis could be:

‘People who are motivated towards achieving their goals are focused towards success.’

Transition statement

Before you start writing the actual article, you need to signal the audience that you are proceeding to the ‘meat’ of your work. A transition statement will do this for you. For instance, you can use a sentence such as:

‘The following ideas will help you stay focused and motivated in your work or studies.’

The Body of a 400 word essay

As aforementioned, this is the meat of the essay. It is the part where you support your thesis using illustrations and research findings. In most cases, the body has 2-4 sentences whose length is between 75 and 100 words. Each idea should be in its own paragraph. Again, it is crucial to keep your sentences short and concise. This means you should have 6-8 sentences per paragraph. In the outline, be sure to start with your strongest point and end with the weakest.

Structure of a body paragraph


This is a sentence that introduces the paragraph. It should support the thesis


Use research findings to make your point clear. This may take more than one sentence.


Justify your idea using logic and scientific skills. Explain what you mean.

How the point relates to the thesis:

Then, prove that the point makes sense in regard to supporting the thesis.

Conclusion paragraph

This is the last part of the essay. It summarizes the essay in about 50 words. You should therefore have 3-5 sentences here. Do not introduce any new idea here. Instead, use conclusive statements that support your thesis.

The structure of a conclusive paragraph

  • Restate your thesis
  • Give a brief summary of the essay
  • Write a conclusive statement


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