Your starting product

If you’re stuck on your college essay before you even start, here’s a deceptively simple tip—just start. Set a timer for 10 minutes and don’t stop writing until the time is up.

If you can’t think of something good to write, start writing something bad.

That idea you’re considering but don’t know how to approach? Just start.

No idea where to start? How about your best day in high school? Your worst day? Your most challenging day?

Just start.

If someone asked you to talk about your high school experience, you wouldn’t get talker’s block. But writer’s block happens when you reject ideas preemptively. So much of what you put on paper in high school is eventually evaluated and graded, and it’s hard to remove that lens from the starting point. Remember that what you start writing is a world away from where you’ll finish.

The admissions committee will evaluate your finished product. But nobody but you will see, much less evaluate, what you write today. There’s no pressure on your starting product. So get momentum on your side and just start.