There are more than a few out there who absolutely dread this process.
Either you’ve tried to do it before, such as last year or in Round 1 with a prior set of apps, and you failed, and you cannot stomach the fact of going through all of that again.
Or you just KNOW that you’re going to hate it, and you put it off and put it off and don’t even get started.
Procrastination is actually THE WORST for those who need to spend THE MOST time on their essays. It’s just how it goes, and it’s unfortunate. Sometimes it’s because of this.
We don’t have any simple solutions for you. There’s no magic wand we can wave, to make this process emotionally less painful.
We’re glad that you’re at least going to try. We know that some unscrupulous applicants don’t even bother; they go and find someone they can pay to write essays for them, and they submit an unethical app. That’s really not a good idea, not only due to the ethics (if you get caught, the school will reject you for this act alone, or they can rescind an offer if they find out later, or they can even kick you out if you’ve already matriculated), but also because writing a good MBA admissions essay is not a skill that many people on this planet have. If you get someone else to write for you, how do you know they even know what they’re doing? Almost guaranteed, we can tell you, they don’t. So it’s not going to help you get in to a top school any more than just sweating through the process yourself.
Plus, yeah, ethics.
So what do you do?
Here’s some ideas.
Diagnose why you hate it.
- Is it the writing?
- Or is it the thinking?
- Is it that you don’t know what to say?
- Or that you don’t know how to say it?
- Have you been ridiculed in the past for bad writing? Did you have a mean English teacher in high school who laughed at you in front of the class?
- Are you dyslexic? Is it something that is literally very challenging for you due to an actual physical limitation?
The first step is understanding why you have so much resistance.
Identifying the root cause of a difficult emotion can be useful, since it can take away the power of its negativity. Or, if you just don’t know where to start, you can look for tools and resources to help (EssaySnark’s App Accelerators are exactly designed for this).
Next: Get started NOW and force yourself to work on it constantly. Every single day, from now to the deadlines, weekdays and weekends and holidays included. Make yourself start, and spend time on it.
This is the hardest part.
Catch yourself avoiding it, and being squirrelly. Look at your thoughts. It’s only a thought that’s keeping you from doing what you want to do. Don’t tolerate it. Thoughts only have the power that we give them. Once you see that your feelings of fear or dread or self-doubt are only thoughts then you have neutralized them. It’s much easier to push through and get started when you understand that the wall you think is there, actually is not.
You will get better at writing if you do more of it. But you need to engage with the process. This does not mean writing a full draft every day. It means committing to writing SOMETHING. Sketch out an idea. Write an outline.
Or, for some people, writing pages and pages and pages is the way they handle first drafts. It’s fine if you need to do that. Just do it.
And then recognize that even though it’s overwhelming to go back over what you wrote, that that’s the process you’ve chosen. Print all of it out. Take a bunch of colored pens. Examine the essay prompt that you’re writing for, and go over your pages and pages and mark up the individual sentences or even just phrases that actually relate to the question.
When you write super-long first drafts then it’s always an upchuck. Your brain is generating ideas and much of it will not end up in the essay. But it’s fine to do that as your first step, as long as you’re able to then use the power of analysis to go back over it and isolate the nuggets of goodness, and throw all the rest of it away.
Extract those core statements and build out an outline from there.
Then — on another day when you’re still committed to this momentum of do-it-every-day, and you’re fresh from not being knee-deep in the muck of too many ideas — go at the outline and build it out into a draft. Take only those core ideas and make an argument that flows.
Your essays are a pitch. Each one individually is presenting an argument in response to a question. In a single draft, there needs to be a premise, and then a sequence of steps where you show that that premise is true.
There. We just gave you a map.
What do you do if you hate writing essays?
You realize it about yourself, and you have patience and compassion for yourself as you go through it, because you know that difficult emotions will arise. And you’re ready for it to be painful.
And you do it anyway. Because that’s the gauntlet that the system has devised for you to run. And you want what lies on the other side.
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