Attempt to get South in easy moves (5)
I believe the answer is:
'attempt' is the definition.
(I know that essay is a type of attempt)
'south in easy moves' is the wordplay.
'south' becomes 'S' (abbreviation).
'in' is an insertion indicator.
'moves' indicates anagramming the letters.
'easy' with letters rearranged gives 'esay'.
's' put within 'esay' is 'ESSAY'.
'to get' acts as a link.
(Other definitions for essay that I've seen before include "Scholarly work" , "Short literary piece: attempt" , "Short formal piece of writing" , "Try - composition" , "Written academic work" .)