5 Effective Steps to Brainstorm the Perfect College Essay


Believe it or not, the time for submitting college essays is just around the corner. If you’re anything like me, summer break has given you major writer's block. I’ve compiled a list of ways top stay motivated and dig you out of that creative funk!


1. Ditch the Computer and Stop Erasing Your Ideas

Researchers, like Claire Bustarret, a specialist from ‘the Maurice Halbwachs research Centre’ in Paris, suggests that writing by hand allows the creator to visually see the creative process, thus allowing for growth and greater ideas to come up, as you’re writing.

Adding to that, when you’re writing on paper, don’t erase your ideas—allow your writing to grow from those ideas you didn’t like so much and let new, better ideas rise from them. I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment researching this because it’s happened often where I have an idea but I can’t word it right, so I scrap it. DO NOT do this. Get all of your first draft, non-sense, messy ideas out on paper, and then organize.

2. Talk to People and Get Their Opinions

Talk to your friends about your ideas and their ideas. Let them read your work and critique it. You never know, someone could say something that sparks a brilliant idea. Human interaction and feeding off of others opinions and thoughts help us grow as learners and writers.

3. Get Into Your Flow and Out of Your Head

This is the simplest tip. Just start writing. No matter how bad you think it is, just write. If I ever get into those awful writer’s blocks I just start writing—get out of the mindset that everything you write isn’t ‘perfect.’ Just be patient, and the ideas will come.

Get into your flow. I know that’s easier said than done, but getting into a good head space for writing isn’t all that difficult. The main aspect of this is to know what you’re writing about and what needs to get done. This can help focus your mind and get your ideas flowing. Make a list of the things you want to say, and do your research. Then take a break. I find that if I soak up all the information and ideas  and then let that settle, the inspiration and words flow out of me.


4. Drink More Tea and Take More Naps

This is my favorite tip, for obvious reasons, but it’s actually more helpful than it seems. Drinking warm green tea with lemon has helped me get an incredible amount of work done. It is an excellent source of caffeine and the lemon helps restore your mind—and all around the tea helps you relax.

Napping is going to let all those ideas settle—I’m not sure if there is some science to this or if it’s just me, but I write best when I first wake up or when I’m super tired.

5. Listen to Music

I’ve found that this actually doesn't help everyone, and some people prefer silence when they’re creating. But I get a lot of inspiration from listening to music—make a playlist of your favorite songs for writing time. If music is too distracting, put on a podcast; listening to people speak is very relaxing and gives me tons of inspiration.

Bonus: Get Rid of Self-Doubt

Whether you’re writing a college essay or making an application for a job/internship, the most important, and sort of clichéd tip, I can give is to not doubt yourself.  If I erased everything I didn’t like in a piece of work, I’d never finish anything. Colleges and potential employers are looking to see your personality and your best work—so if you do that, there’s a huge chance for success!

For more tips on staying creative check out this YouTube video: ‘40 Ways to Boost Your Creativity’   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqUfn9wOzZI