The essay is an art form with a long and powerful tradition and recognizable qualities. The most important element of an essay is your thinking. Unless you write honestly, with the conviction that comes when using your own voice, you are not writing an essay. An essay generally addresses one central question and develops a thesis--the answer to the question. Usually you explain or defend your thesis with reasons and evidence gained from your own personal experience; often you are expected to include new thinking gained from your reading or research. Generally, you will need to settle on some organizational strategy, often including an introduction, body, and conclusion.