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Guest Post: The Forecast Calls for Thought

About the Author: Antonio, aged 19, currently works at Hubbubbaloo Creative, as well as is a college student.  After writing his own college essays, he has the following advice to share: 

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Writing an essay can be stressful, especially if it is a college application essay about yourself. The stress increases considering that the essay is limited to reach a certain word capacity, and strangers will be judging your work, all while prioritizing your schedule to meet deadlines. Just starting your essay can become daunting. But relax, Garrison Keillor’s passage helps ease the pain of starting the college essay process.

In the next three blog posts I will be talking about the beginning process of starting a college essay.

An important part in starting an essay is generating a brainstorm, especially if it is an essay to a college about yourself. Essay prompt or not, a brainstorm is good to get to know yourself better. First “get a pen that makes a sensuous line, get a comfortable typewriter, a friendly word processor-whichever feels easy to the hand.” Some people like to begin their essays on actual paper or digitally, I encourage to try both styles because the differentiating perceptions could attribute a certain flow to your idea generation. I find starting a brainstorm on paper is helpful because it allows you to write and even draw ideas across and behind the paper quickly. Brainstorming on the computer is convenient if you’re a fast typer because it gives advantage to those flimsy ideas that need fast attendance for capturing.

It’s important to ground yourself with the realization that this brainstorm is not your final essay nor is it the rough draft, instead it is more a reference sheet of your life to resort to when typing up a college essay. If you have a college prompt in mind, by all means brainstorm beyond the boundaries of the prompts question.

Once you have settled in and are ready to begin your brainstorm “sit for a few minutes with the blank sheet in front of you, and meditate on the person you will write to”. Instead for this case, you will “meditate on” the college essay prompt or yourself. The key phrases “sit for a few minutes” and “meditate” are essential because it encourages you to take your time in developing a thorough brainstorm that is congruous to yourself. Keep in mind that this is the beginning phase of rediscovering yourself that will serve as a stepping stone into taking on the full college essay. Now allow any ideas in relation to your essay prompt or your personal qualities to come to mind. After generating some thoughts, begin writing.

In the next blog post, I will be talking about overcoming brainstorm blocks and techniques that will get you writing in no time.

Inspired by: Garrison Keillor’s “How to Write a Letter” (1989)