Overcoming Writer's Block for Your College Admissions Essay

on August 15, 2017

Writer’s block can hinder even the best ideas for a college admissions essay. Here are a few ways to make sure your writing sings.

 

Let Go

 

Don't stare at a blank document and wait for the perfect first sentence to emerge. Many people find it is helpful to start writing and edit later. Writing incomplete sentences, making bullet points and jotting down notes can help overcome writer's block. This also is a good way to compile ideas. If this strategy doesn't appeal to you, record yourself talking about your essay or ask someone to ask you questions and take notes on what you say. Talking about a topic often is easier than writing about it.

 

You also can answer an essay question out loud, while recording yourself, then transcribe the recording. Most people write or type at about 30 to 60 words per minute, but they speak at about 200 words per minute. 

 

Set Deadlines

 

Most students don't sit down and write an entire application essay in one sitting. Set realistic deadlines for yourself. The first time you sit down, write an outline. The second time, finish a draft.

 

It's also helpful to set aside blocks of time to write. Finally, if you sit down to write and stare at a blank page for 30 minutes, get up and take a walk. If you start early enough, you'll have the luxury to write when it comes more easily. 

 

Take Breaks

 

Taking a break, especially if you've been working for a while, is a good thing. There's nothing wrong with doing something fun for an hour and getting back to work. If you're worried about productivity, use that time to research prospective colleges or review other work. Good ideas often come when you least expect them. 

 

Ask for a Critique

 

When you have a draft finished, ask a friend, parent or teacher to read your work and offer suggestions. A new perspective can provide you with new ideas or angles you might not have considered.

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