It’s OK to want the product…just don’t lose the LASTING value of your process!
You don’t seek essay help generally if you don’t want a great product. That’s a given: the best you can get, with guidance. AND YOU SHOULD HAVE IT.
But! You also are coming for the quality of the process. To be you, doing this hard thing, and to get the most out of it.
Some students come to me already pumped to open their minds or draw their creativity up from the well, turn down the volume on their application anxiety, and make discoveries. Others have to be convinced that this process is the gold as much as the final essay product itself.
I do know that paying attention to process, really caring, is a recipe for better flow and more interesting lines of thought.
That is, a better essay.
Your College Essay IS a Process!
Everyone wants a great college essay (product) out of their writing process–and why wouldn’t you?
But how many of us really pay attention to– or care the most about– our writing process itself?
Nah, we hit SEND and let it go.
How many months of work did it take to get you….to that?
Let’s shift perspective a bit and see.
Don’t be duped into loving your product more than your process
As a culture, we are (too) happy to sacrifice process in favor of product.
It’s no secret, in fact, it’s advertised everywhere: we don’t value the time we spend doing something (process) nearly as much as what we end up with (product, thing with a price-tag on it).
It’s that all-American mindset of living for your retirement experience. That’s capitalism–crapitalism— for ya.
It’s easy to fall in that trap (product infatuation) even if you think you’re not in the trap.
For example, ever wished the week would hurry up and be over so you could get to the weekend (end goal)? Presto. DUPED.
But what if you get hit by a bus first? My cynical side asks. And what about your week, is it just…useless filler between Saturdays? Worthless as packing peanuts after the package is opened?
This is exactly how the argument goes for your writing process.
If you don’t really invest in the process, you miss out on…A LOT. Maybe even everything.
And that’s your life you’re missing. Which I would argue matters more than anything.
What does this mean for our (college essay) writing process?
This means we should really PAY ATTENTION to what we are experiencing while writing our essay. The HOW. ALL THOSE FREAKING DRAFTS.
Ask yourself, as you write, what are you learning about
- how you create?
- writing something kind of hard?
- where you get stuck?
- how you free yourself?
That’s all sooooo valuable!
Are you going to just….give it away? Blow it off?
This is why I really really encourage students to dig in, and feel all the feelings that come with that, rather than try TO JUST GET THROUGH IT.
Can you let go of stress in exchange for CURIOSITY AND OPENNESS? Because honestly there is so much more to the essay than just…the final essay.
One of my new students just reported to his mom that after our writing session he felt PEACEFUL AND OPTIMISTIC. It’s not because writing is easy, or because he was magically done.
The secret is in the quality of the process.
What I learned from Zen Meditation -it’s all 100% process
Zen taught me a lot about process. I’m so grateful. I try to pass what I learned on to my students off the cushion.
Years ago, some Sunday mornings after drinking a twisted amount of gunpowder green tea (I know, violent to the nervous system) I went to the three-hour formal sits at Fire Lotus, a local Zen temple. Their head Abbot, John Daido Loori, was a deeply creative, ‘tell-it-like-it-is-or-go-home’ guy.
I listened to him and his students. And they said…it’s ALL process.
All of it.
In zen practice, how you stood or sat, breathed or focused, poured tea or bowed, was AS important as the fact that you did it at all.
There was NO product: you didn’t “keep” your morning meditation or even necessarily its equanimity. You didn’t “keep” your tea, your posture, the hundreds of breaths that passed in and out, and certainly not the time spent doing all these things. You were always losing that.
It was also no holy lottery tickets. Sometimes you went in to the temple pissed and uncomfortable and came out the same way. Sometimes you fell asleep and missed most of the talk. Or it all seemed terribly boring. But it didn’t matter. There were no door prizes, and nothing was to be escaped. You just were. I00 percent process. That was the balm.
To shift your focus. To just BE.
So what is the quality of your process?
Do you think this shows in the final product, your essay, like fairy dust on the sentences?
I do (obviously).
Writing is not linear. You would not want it to be, because it would rob you of magic.
Sure, planning is fine. But planning without remaining open to where the process takes you and what it reveals is like going to a symphony with noise canceling headphones on. You are barricading the essence of the art.
Starting your essay earlier also allows time for this to unfold.
For more tips on your process, contact us.
What lasts long after you hit send and move on? We put you in touch with that.
Self-knowledge. The need to communicate widely in writing for a variety of purposes. The sense that exploration of yourself and the world could be rich and endless. The need to think and explain clearly and dynamically.
John Daido Loori says, “The creative process, like a spiritual journey, is intuitive, nonlinear, and experiential. It points us to our essential nature, which is a reflection of the boundless creativity of the universe.”
So maybe you’ll say about writing your college essay, “I learned about the boundless creativity of the universe.” Just maybe.