Last week, I posted part one of the series “How to get unstuck while writing your personal statement,” where I covered how to unstick yourself when stuck choosing a statement topic. For Part 2, I’m covering what to do when you’re at the draft-writing stage.
If you’re stuck… and you have a topic, but can’t start your first draft.
Before beginning your draft, you want to ensure that:
- You have a solid argument.
- This argument is supported by relevant evidence– whether it’s anecdotal or describing relevant work or school experience.
- Your topic is explained thematically– meaning, it is a theme that runs through your statement/argument, connecting all your points.
- It ends solidly, tying off all ends, so that it is impossible to poke holes in your argument.
It’s a lot, I know. But, there is hope.
In a previous post, I covered how to organize your topic around a basic argument structure. Those basic principles can be used during the outlining process, which would then get you into a prime position to start writing your first draft.
The answers to all the points I’ve raised above can be seen during the outlining process. Laying out all your material at hand in bulleted points and organizing them in a structure will allow you to get a birds-eye view of your statement as a whole. Doing so will make assessing your statement that much easier, and will allow you to make the appropriate edits.
You’ll also be able to ascertain the weak points of your argument and fix them– whether it’s a certain point needs further explanation or to integrated better into your statement, or if you’re providing too much information and getting too far away from your argument.
Of course, the most brilliant thing about outlining is that it can help you get out of a creative rut. When outlining, you’re forced to think or even reconsider aspects of your topic in new ways, which can allow for new material. This is, in a sense, a more advanced method of brainstorming that can help get your juices flowing to start your first draft. Before you know it, you’ll understand your topic and your aim that much more clearly and will be able to start working on a successful first draft.
Next week, in the final part of this series, I’ll cover how to get unstuck when you’ve already written your first/second/fifteenth draft.