• Susan Treadwell

From Pre-Write to Free-Write: Can You Learn To Love Writing College Essays?

* High school juniors: the 2020 -2021 Common App essay prompts are set.

February is here, and high school juniors have so much going on – keeping up with school, testing, extra-curriculars, work, family obligations – not to mention college search, too.

And then there's Valentine’s Day ... the perfect time to show yourself some love with a special message: “I Heart Writing College Essays.”

Say what?

It’s crazy-hard to write compelling essays when you actually dread writing them. That’s what usually happens later on, when college season kicks into high gear, and you’re up against the clock.

Imagine unearthing the stories that illuminate who you are without the pressure of application deadlines haunting every thought.

See what happens when you make a conscious decision to enjoy the process of self-reflection. If you’re not used to writing personal narratives, it may seem impossible, at first. But your decision can produce positive outcomes.

To make this work, you’ll need some strategies –

Pre-writing exercises can help access your creativity, and cue memories related to life experiences. They can provide the raw material you’ll need to draw on later, when responding to college essay prompts. (See Step1 of 6-Step Guide for pre-write prompts.)

The free-writing approach helps you access your vital, inner-voice. It helps you bypass your inner-critic so you can connect with your creativity.

To get started, choose a topic, and set a timer for 5-10 minutes. Write continuously, without stopping. Don’t re-read, or make corrections, or think ahead. The goal is to be in a state of flow. For extra points, go old-school and use pen and paper.

Then, let it be. Take some time away. Maybe go for a walk, and clear your head.

When you return to your writing, certain phrases or ideas will pop out at you. Highlight them. Don’t be surprised if you feel like an explorer discovering gold.

Keep this writing in a safe place. Treasure it. And when the time comes to draft college essays for your applications, it will be there for you, ready to inspire. Just like a Valentine.

#prewrite #freewrite #writingstrategies #collegeessay


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