If you've just read our Use Your Hobby Trick: A Simple Strategy to Conquer Writer's Block post and you're ready to actually give this strategy a try, settle in on a comfy chair where the lighting creates your perfect ambiance, turn on your computer or grab a pen and paper, and let's get started!
Step 1: In 30-seconds or less (set a timer if it'll help keep you on track), list your top two or three hobbies.
This should not take you more than a minute to complete! You either have an interest in an activity you do or you don't. If you don't have an interest in something but you start to spin on it in attempts to reconsider its value to your life, stop spinning and move on. You have plenty of other options at your fingertips so you do not need to waste time trying to make an activity worthy of being written about.
Quickly make a note of those that you do have a high level of interest in. You can identify these by noticing what you tend to naturally gravitate toward when you have free time or what you tend to daydream about while engaged in less interesting tasks.
Step 2: In 60-seconds or less (for each question), answer the following prompts:
What do you enjoy most about Hobby #1? Hobby #2? Hobby #3?
How do you feel when you start, when you're working on or involved with, and when you complete each of the hobbies you've listed?
What are you hoping to achieve with each activity?
Step 3: In 5-minutes or less (for each hobby), describe what goes into or what you do when you're involved in it. For example, you may want to write down answers to some of these questions:
What equipment, tools, supplies, or resources do you need and what do you do with them?
What actions do you engage in?
Does it require your hands or feet, flexibility or ability to remain still, or using any of your senses? What are the fundamental requirements of this hobby?
What do you need to be aware of while participating?
Who else is involved?
Does the weather or amount of space to move freely matter?
What adjustments do you consider and have to make to set yourself up just right? Do you find yourself needing to adapt to anything at any point after you get started?
Step 4: In 3-minutes or less for each hobby, describe the unique spin you put on or toward the results and activity. For instance, you could ask yourself:
What personal touches, if any, do you like to apply to your hobby? Is there a certain mindset and/or attitude that tends to work best for this activity? Do you like to add gracefulness if it's for dancing; bright, serene, or dark colors and shades if it's for artwork; power, volume, and dynamics if you play an instrument; or a certain style of grooves and edges for construction or modeling? In other words, what do you infuse into your activity to add your personal touch?
Are there any specific phrases, ingredients, sounds, etc., that you tend to use because they feel natural to you and they allow you to express the finer details of who you are?
When you reflect on yourself being engaged in your activity, what do you see in your mind? What do you hear? Are you able to smell or taste anything? Do you feel textures, emotions, or anything else that's unique to you? What do you perceive about yourself and the world around you while in the present moment of your hobby?
By this point in the process, you should have enough relevant and personal details to work with for your essay, whether if it's just for practice or if it's for the real college application essay task. Review what you have in front of you. Realize that you pulled this information out on your own in less than 1-hour (if you chose to list three hobbies)!
Now, take a quick break to reset your mind. When you're ready, let's move on to the second half of Use Your Hobby trick's process.
Step 5: Quickly review the two to three hobbies you chose and your personal details that you wrote down about each of them. Which one pulls at your heart and/or mind the most? Whichever one triggers feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, motivation, happiness, or any other positive, energizing emotion, go with that choice and don't look back.
If you're "looking back," tell yourself that you can always write about the others later today or tomorrow. For now, do your best to make a choice and stick with it; don't hesitate and don't question yourself.
When you feel the emotions listed above, that is often a clear indication that you truly have a passion or genuine interest in it. These are the best, most ideal and practical topics to write about when you're doing college application essays!
Step 6: Organize the notes you took on the hobby of choice. Make sure to separate them from the other notes; those will only be distractions when you're brainstorming and writing.
Step 7: Once your notes are organized to your liking, review them from top to bottom and visualize yourself participating in the activity. Can you see this scene in your mind? Can you feel the happiness, satisfaction, peace, or any other emotions that this hobby brings to your life?
Step 8: Now it's time to write your story! As you do this step, do not stop--just let your ideas flow onto your laptop or paper. You'll have plenty of time to edit your work. If you tend to lock up when you know it's time to start writing an essay, consider telling your story to someone as they make notes of what you say. You can also make an audio recording of yourself and plan to transcribe it later. Here are a few prompts to get started with Step 8.
When you're done with all of your work and chores, what do you like to do and why?
What activity helps you to relax the most and how, exactly, do you do it?
I'm looking to create more balance in my life. What activity would you recommend and why?
Step 9: Read your essay from beginning to end and jot down any and all impressions that you have about your story. Then, read it from the last paragraph to the first paragraph and, again, make notes of your impressions (you'll notice content and strength of individual paragraphs with this step).
Step 10: Edit your essay for writing conventions, style, voice, personality, and anything else the college application indicates. Repeat this process until you're ready to have it reviewed by others, if you wish to have more feedback. If and when you're excited with what you've written, it's time to consider it done!
As your confidence level grows, you'll gain access to so much more ideas because your outlook on writing essays will be much more open and optimistic. Be ready for realizations of skills you're developing as a result of your hobbies, level of comfort in your own personality traits and preferences, and positivity in the potential that exists within you. Your life is yours to design and enriching it may be just a hobby away!