Whether you are writing your essay by hand or on the computer, sitting and staring at a blank page or computer screen will do nothing for your subconscious. All that will happen is that you will feel an impending sense of doom. Your blank canvas will make you feel worse by the second. This is especially unfair to yourself because no one can write their essay in a matter of minutes. Your thought process won’t wander into creative paths but instead become occupied by thoughts of failure and meta-thoughts about the implications of your failure. Research has shown that negative thoughts are a significant hindrance to creativity. Don’t make this mistake. The key then is to surround yourself with positivity and creativity. How can we do this?
2. Listen to music.
Seriously. I’m not talking about the newest top 10 hit, though. Some of the most influential music is about significant moments and thoughts in an artist’s life. These lyrics are what you want to grab on to. Pull up a google search of the song’s lyrics and read along. Think about and analyze them. Think specifically about the impact of what the artist is saying to their lives. Now connect these words to moments in your own life of significance. You don’t have to have had a friend die of a drug overdose but we have all had these moments which have shaped us. Write these things down. These deeply personal things that have shaped us are exactly what college essay readers are looking for.
3. Read blogs with interesting stories.
There are hundreds of blogs out there where interesting people are writing about their lives. Do the same thing as with the music you were listening to. Take the musicians’ stories and relate them to your own life experiences. Don’t worry if yours have trouble comparing; the people reading your essay realize you are only 17 or 18 years old and will adjust their expectations accordingly.
4. Talk to your parents.
You may think otherwise, but few people know you quite as well as they do. Ask them about the moments of significance in their lives and specifically ones that relate to you. They can be a wealth of information about your personality and how it changed you became an adult. Furthermore, ask them specifically about moments in their own lives which they consider to be significant.
You may have noticed a common theme in this list. These things are all positive, and, more importantly, will push the thoughts of your need to complete an essay into the background and will push creativity and connection making to the foreground. This is exactly what you want to happen. You want your mind to be thinking creatively while having the awareness to realize when something you stumble upon may make a good topic. The important thing to remember is that these moments can be very fleeting, and our memories are not as good as we like to think they are. Keep a notepad with you and when you think of something, immediately write it down so you don’t forget it.