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Stuck on College Essay? Trust the Writing Process

Writing is a process. Wow Writing Workshop president Kim Lifton gives a broad overview of the steps to follow to write a great essay.

“I don’t know where to start.”

We hear this all the time at Wow Writing Workshop. Our response: Start in the middle or at the end of the story. It really doesn’t matter.

Writing is a process; we tell each student to take a deep breath, slow down and get it right. That means follow the process. We take students through our 10-step process that helps them gain confidence and teaches them how to capture their stories in a compelling way. A student should never take a blank sheet of paper and write an essay from top to bottom.

Steps 1 through 4 focus on gathering details, content. Our students don’t begin writing their essays until Step 5. Why? Preparation is paramount. It is critical to understand exactly what you are trying to achieve before turning your ideas into an actual essay. You should not focus on revision or polish until you get to the final steps.

Through revision, you will likely find new and better ways to express yourself. Many students find that their essays go in wonderful and unexpected directions as they revise. When you understand that revision involves “re-seeing” your essay, it feels less like fixing something that is broken and more like a process of discovery.

One student, Sarah, said this about revision: “I am not just becoming a better writer. I am learning to transform something I have written into something totally new. It is no longer taking apart something that I made but creating something bigger and better than I had before.”

By the time you reach the last step, you should be ready to send in your essay with a completed application to the college of your dreams.

Kim Lifton is president of Wow Writing Workshop.

Our next class is Sept. 22, or contact us for more information about essay reviews, brainstorming sessions or private consults with a Wow coach.

Stay tuned. ... Wow is about to launch a new e-learning tool developed to make college essay writing easier!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Megan Bildner September 21, 2012 at 06:45 PM
This is great advice! I always recommend that after you've finished writing to let it be for a moment and then come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes! I always make sure that I have time to do this.
Thanks, Megan. Are you a teacher?

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