You scour website after website trying to find a cue that will trigger the flow of writing ideas. You find one suggestion after another, but hours later, you have yet to write a single word. Discouraged, you find yourself in the same predicament of writer's block as with your many attempts before.
Practice prompts are extremely helpful with this challenge, but it's so easy to become overwhelmed with the many choices to choose from. To successfully dodge becoming overwhelmed, the key--the simple trick--is to put your attention on your favorite hobbies. If you're thinking that this is still too broad for a starting point, please keep reading!
There are three reasons why this trick continues to be one of the most successful strategies amongst those we've worked with.
First, your favorite hobbies are on your list of favorites because you have a personal interest in them. When you have a genuine interest in something, you'll naturally come up with ideas, feelings, and goals about it, all of which are excellent contributing sources for writing college application essays!
Second, if an activity is on your favorite hobbies list, then you've very likely put a lot of time and attention to it. You're probably able to describe it in depth, whether it requires physical items, involves procedures, or results in a service for others, to name a few. In other words, the level of detail you're able to provide is most likely far greater than what you'd be able to come up with for any general, random topic.
Lastly, hobbies that you enjoy will always include your unique spin--your personality, your style, your vision--which brings so much power to your story. If you take a moment to reflect on what and why a hobby is on your list of favorites, you'll realize that an innate, personal interest exists, one that's at a much deeper level of satisfaction than a task someone else convinces you to do.
Putting these three pieces together--1) your interests, ideas, feelings, and goals; 2) your perspectives and details from first-hand experiences; and 3) your personality, style, and vision--you end up with a powerful, meaningful blend of essential elements that make you, You!
If you'd like to try out the Use Your Hobby trick and need a little help getting started, check out our Use Your Hobby Tips post. We provide prompts that may help guide you toward your personal treasure chest of ideas, experiences, and so much more!
Please Note: This strategy is suggested only if your hobby as the topic or focal point is relevant to the college application prompt. If there is no connection--or you're unable to create a connection--between your hobby and what's being asked for on the application, use this trick to practice brainstorming ideas and piecing them together into a well-written essay. The more practice you allow yourself to have, the stronger your writing skills will become.
Lack of ideas is one of the most commonly used reasons for writer's block when students are working on college application essays. In reality, though, this is furthest from the truth! There are actually unlimited topics applicants can write about, but because there are so many choices to sift through, they often encounter analysis paralysis (similar to what shoppers face when there are too many options to choose from for electronics, furniture, and even cars!). To work through the episodes of analysis paralysis, and ultimately, conquer writer's block, experiment with the highly successful Use Your Hobby trick! Why not write about something that you have intimate knowledge and insight about? You will find that the process of writing about a favorite hobby will be simple because you don't have to figure anything out about the topic--you just need to focus on the parts you want to write about and then figure out how to present it on paper. In this way, you'll spend most of your time and attention on sharing the fun and interesting parts of your story!