Don’t panic.

If you’ve tried all these things and still haven’t decided what to write about in your essay, don’t worry. There’s a great story inside you waiting to be told.

Consider these questions:

  • What’s the toughest lesson you’ve ever had to learn?

  • What’s the hardest thing you ever had to overcome?

  • What’s your life question?

  • Describe a time when your belief system was formed, tested or changed.

  • I wouldn’t be who I am today without _____________________.

  • If you have a specific career/major in mind, ask yourself:

  • Why am I a(n) _________________? [writer, doctor, teacher, athlete, etc.]

  • What experience shifted your molecules? (In other words: You were one way. Then [this thing] happened. Then you were another way.)

  • When did the changes begin?

How do I know which idea is “the best”?

My friend Whitney and I were recently discussing this over email. She wrote: 

“It’s important not to put too much pressure on one’s self to determine “the best.” Because any idea can be “the best” if executed properly. This is something I deal with on a day to day basis as a screenwriter. Coming up with multiple ideas is important, but at some point you just have to pick one and commit. That choice will guide the choices that follow. And it’s the choices that follow that make that choice “the best.” In short, any idea has the potential to be the best. So stop being scared and pick one.” 

My advice?

Stop being scared and pick one.