Blue over You
You don’t like your current college essay—at all. It revolts you: the written word should never have been invented. It’s late November: you’re freaking out. Your essay tastes like stale white bread instead of the perfection you could have said.
Stop. Take a shower.
The famed “shower effect” (Google it!) means your best ideas, whether for your unhatched narrative or for improving crappiness you’ve already written, often happen when you’re not straining, but are relaxed. Studies show as much: Probabilities Upped.
And if nothing else, you end up clean, fresh. So stop reading this and go take a shower.
Struck with an idea, but you’re covered in lather!
Everyone should have those huge bathtub crayons: toddlers know the drill. Write your thoughts out on the wall. Then, you don’t have to go running for your notebook, dripping. Streaking past your family, chewing their thumbnails—which they grew for this purpose, like agribusiness—over your blank Common App forms sitting on the desktop.
Or worse, all wet, you bend over your computer, giving the motherboard its first, last and only washing.
We often do ridiculous things when we’re inspired. Ridiculousness might even be the first symptom of inspiration.
Trust Your Mind
Forget the crayons. Forget your computer. Forget having to be smart and on top of things. Rely on your mind to retain the idea it finds. Test it. Tell it you trust it. Split a BFF necklace with it and give it whichever half it prefers.
Let your mind grasp only what is really graspable, and worth the effort of retention. It will be less than you think, and better.
Bad to Best
Here’s a bad idea, which sometimes leads to the best outcomes:
Take a shower with your essay—a printed copy.
Get the paper really wet.
See what words remain visible.
Pretend the world had a good hard cry over it.
Water is a random editor. What words can you still see?
Go back to that part.
Revise, looking for the heart.
No essay works if the blood doesn’t circulate.
Congealing isn’t appealing.
Cliché is passé.
You can do better.
What’s left after a good washing?
If all else fails, come to us to clean up your essay. We got you covered.