How to begin writing your college essay?
Sometimes it feels harder than bench pressing 3x your weight.
Sometimes it feels harder than plucking hairs with your non-dominant hand.
Sometimes it feels harder than spelling French words correctly.
But it doesn’t have to.
Faced with the challenge of how to begin, just begin.
That is, go around the challenge by refusing to see it as a challenge.
Overwrite the fear, inertia, or blank feeling by starting right there, using it as your prompt.
Freewrite from this moment
Caffeinate yourself until you see double, turn down the sound of babies crying and your neighbor’s weird fetish for Frank Sinatra, turn down the sound of siblings having the same old fight, parents barking, friends texting….and start there.
I mean, you could start with any of the things listed above, the particulars of your life.
Or you could start with the emotion– or lack of emotion– that facing an essay brings up.
For example, you might set a timer, take a few deep breaths and start:
“At this moment, I am staring at the page, well aware that what I put on this page is supposed to be super talented, attractive, and make me sound as Good as Friday. To handle this amount of pressure and anxiety, I am on my third Starbucks Peppermint Latte, which I got with my last dollar for the week, and now I add to my list of crappy things that I might not be able to sleep for a month from the amount of stimulant coursing through my blood, and I notice all the other people working nearby– I’m in the library– and that they all seem to be typing freely and easily, so I have to believe they are updating their social media accounts, not writing an application essay. I just noticed that is the longest sentence ever…”
Will you win the Pulitzer for this content?
Likely not, but if you do, please mention that this blog helped you get going.
That said, who cares? The way you get over not knowing where to begin is by beginning.
Resistance only begets resistance
This is true not only for writing. It’s true for just about anything we are stalling on, for just about anything for which we feel blank.
It’s bullshit, some say of writer’s block. Why not take their approach?
Because the real challenge of the college essay is not just beginning it, but believing it. And if you can trust yourself to cut through your bewilderment about getting started by taking action, surely you can count on yourself to dig deep and say something true. Without hiding behind what you think you’re supposed to say or sound like.
Because beginning is just the beginning
Stuck along the way? Did you explore this blog for further tricks and tips to keep you writing? Or otherwise in your MOJO?
Still need more? Contact us. We’ll help you at any stage in the game, whether you hope to begin with a bang or to revise bravely.