En Garde! Writers’ Block Be Damned

Writer's Block ImageFor many students, ’tis the season for writing – writing in school – and for those fully engaged in the college admissions process, the writing seems to be without end. Not all required writing is purposeful, hence the tedious nature of it. Writing the required essays on the college applications, though, is for many, the first opportunity to more fully express one’s life experience to date, as many of us wander through our lives unaware of the magical quality of living. We want to know more of who we are finally becoming – past all the filters layered over us by parents, friends, etc., and down to the essence of our purpose on this planet. The auto-biographical college admissions essay is the contemplative pause that helps us rebalance, readjust, and in some cases, refresh on what will be the most important decade of our lives: The Twenties. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on who you are talking to, the college admissions essay forces upon us–if crafted properly–this extremely valuable self-reflective process.

For many college applicants, and for that matter most people, would rather have bamboo placed under their finger nails then evaluate who they are, where they have been, and where would they like to go. Of course, then, Writers’ Block, also know as Writers’ Procrastination, becomes endemic among college essay writers. They find every reason to put off writing this difficult, yet rewarding, essay. For some, they will even sabotage the college admissions process, so as not to have to write this too painful essay. To overcome a bad case of Writers’ Block, one should first follow the well-trodden path of the writing process: brainstorm, outline, drafting, and final editing. With a process, one brings order to the chaotic nature of writing, helping to bring the thoughts that dance in our minds under the control of the pen and paper, thus rendering them malleable throughout the drafting process. By organizing our writing, we create opportunities to pause, allowing us to relax without feeling the need to start from scratch for each prompt, especially with  boundless homework, friends and favorite distractions all bidding for our attention. Furthermore, writing is an unfolding – artistic in nature – that requires steps; each one building on the other, until finally, being unable to question no more, we complete our story – though writing is never finished – and longing for the world to know a piece of our mind by publishing our thinking (or by hitting the college application “submit” button on you computer). So when blocked by your own mind, step back and structure your writing within the writing process and always, always include others’ feedback in the writing effort.

Collaborate with friends, teachers, parents – whomever is willing to challenge your writing. We must be challenged by others, who by being human, can relate to our essential life experiences. They can seek to elaborate  our ideas, critique our drafts -an essential aspect of shaping, and most importantly, support us when we need it the most. Seek support amongst those that are willing to ask the tough questions regarding your writing. We don’t want to be coddled, but instead challenged to prove our thesis. We want our writing to be understood, and need people during the writing process to push us to craft a essay that makes known to our audience something more true about us. They help push us over the Writer’s Block wall.  If they understand, we by default come to understand more of our essential being in the process.

Writing may be tedious to most of us, but that which is difficult, is of greatest value. Children love to express. Through the daily struggle of life, many of us lose touch with this burning desire to be known and sink into a zombie like trance, which, tragically, being so much like everyone we see-leads us to conclude is normal and to be embraced–Wrong! Long Live the College Admissions Essay – an essential and most welcomed stop sign on the road of life. Now go ye fellow travelers and study the path you have traversed – seeking guides and friends, when needed, along the way, and proclaim vigorously  to all what you have found.


Creative Marbles was founded by teachers who love the writing process, as well as helping students craft insightful essays, either within the academical classroom, or as part of the more complex framework of college admissions. For more information, please email info@creativemarbles.com or for other methods, see our contact us page.


Image Credit: suziechick.blogspot.com

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About Art Baird, Founding Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Art melds his passion for acquiring and disseminating knowledge with his decades of experience teaching into straightforward, collaborative advising. His pointed questioning facilitates debate, empowering clients to achieve their vision in education and in life.
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