Sep 08 2019

How to Motivate Yourself to Write a College Essay

Adela Belin photo Adela Belin Content strategist and writer
Study Effectively

Do you sometimes wonder where all those famous personalities got their motivation from?

For instance, would physics be what it is if Albert Einstein was not motivated by his curiosity to determine the defining laws of modern physics?

Would Michael Jordan be one of the best basketball players of all time if he was not motivated enough to succeed and get past his failures?

Would the United States be united if Abraham Lincoln was not motivated and determined to preserve the Union, come what may?

Original: Source..and here you are, unable to even start your college essay!

Original: SourceIf you are lacking the motivation to start your essay or are struggling to stay motivated because your essay just does not seem to end, first of all - stop stressing. You are certainly not the only student to be in this situation.

It’s true, you need to be charged up and motivated about something to do a good job at it. Motivation is the fuel that drives you - pushes you to stay committed to your goal in spite of hurdles and challenges along the way. It stems from vision and your willpower to turn it into reality.

Believe it or not - there is a science behind motivation.

Finding the Motivation to Write your College Essay When You Hit a Dead End

You have an essay to complete but you are nowhere close to starting it. The fact that you might have to put together a last-minute essay is no longer enough to get you started because you are deeply demotivated and unenthusiastic to start working on it.

Don’t worry - we have put together a list of tips and tools that will get out of this phase and jumpstart your motivation.

Why are you Losing Motivation to Write an Essay

There are many reasons that might be contributing to your lack of motivation. The first step is knowing why you are not motivated enough to complete your essay so you can arrest it and get beyond it.

Here are 5 common reasons behind losing motivation to write -

Not Interested in the Topic

If you find yourself saying, “but I hate the essay topic” or “I couldn’t care less about the topic”, it’s certain that the core reason behind your lack of motivation is your absolute disinterest in the essay topic.

We agree - it’s difficult to write when you don’t relate to something or worse still, dislike the subject. How do you start? How do you express your thoughts? How do you begin the research?

..but you gotta do what you gotta do.

At such times, what helps is knowing that this particular writing assignment will take you one step closer to your academic goals. Remind yourself that doing well here has a long-term benefit. So, put aside your aversion and get onto it.

Lack Confidence in your Writing

This reason is unfortunate - when you second-guess yourself to the extent that you start doubting your writing abilities which takes a hit on your confidence and jolts your motivation. The next thing you know, you are struggling with all writing assignments that come your way.

You don’t have to deal with the entire essay in one go. Doing that will just scare you more and take you further away from finishing it. Instead, break it down and take it one step at a time. You are likely to maintain your sanity and motivation when you do so.

So, set aside time for research, outlining, writing, editing and proofreading. Even in the writing stage, don’t aim to write everything out together. Break it down paragraph wise and let yourself do justice to each one of them instead of rushing with it.

Keep a Strong Writing Schedule

How will you regain your confidence if you don’t give yourself a chance?

For a moment, forget about what your teacher will say after reading your essay or how you will be perceived. Just write with the aim of pushing your limits and doing the best you can.

Read more books. Ask yourself what it is that you want to communicate. Plan and practice writing. Most importantly, stop letting your fear and anxieties from telling you that you cannot write - be bigger than that.

Tips on building confidence as a writer from Reedsy community

Cannot Stop Procrastinating

Ask any student what their biggest enemy is and they will tell you it’s procrastination.

That’s your story too? Then the only way to battle that is to plan well. Yes, get all those productivity apps and tools out and get disciplined. That’s the only way to get around your assignment.

No one said assignment writing is fun but it’s necessary to take it up with all seriousness to get the scores you want. So, stop procrastinating and just, START.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Considering the amount of assignments a high school, college or university student deals with on a daily basis, it is extremely common to feel overwhelmed and intimidated. When this feeling of overwhelm is not tackled early, it takes over one’s thought process and becomes a deterrent.

This is especially in the case of college essays because there is so much pressure riding on them. Essay writing is a cognitive, time-consuming process which requires extensive amount of planning and work but when you take it one step at a time, it helps to feel less overwhelmed and re-ignite your motivation.

Too Focussed on Grades

A study suggests that when students are overly focused on grades, it affects learning.

..and we agree.

The same applies to writing college essays. When you start obsessing over the grades you will get, you are likely to work under immense pressure which affects the quality of your writing.

While grades do matter, it’s important to shift focus from the final outcome to getting immersed and enjoying the process. Try it!

So, what’s your reason? Accept it to overcome it.

Original: Source

What to Do When You Lack the Motivation to Write a College Essay

Contrary to what people think, no one is “born” motivated. You can make changes in your life and mindset to become motivated and at the same time, if you are not persistent enough, your motivation may even start to fade.

So, if you are stressing over the fact that you are losing motivation to write your college paper, here are 10 hacks that can help you get out of that phase and get started on your essay -

Write and Revisit your Goal

“Does that even help?”

Oh. It does.

When you write down your goal, it registers better. Whether it’s finishing your essay in a given amount of time or aiming for the grades you want - when you write your goals down, however big or small, it remains in your subconscious and ignites renewed passion in your mind to go after that goal.

What’s more, on days when you are not particularly charged up or are feeling listless and demotivated, revisiting your goals serves as an important reminder and helps you get back on your feet.

So, get a journal, write your goal down and maybe even stick it on your study table so you never lose track.

Watch Mary Morrissey deconstruct the power of writing down your goals

Break Down the Writing Process

Earlier we spoke about how writing assignments tend to get overwhelming. In such cases, you know what helps? Breaking down the writing process.

You don’t have to deal with the entire essay in one go. Doing that will just scare you more and take you further away from finishing it. Instead, break it down and take it one step at a time. You are likely to maintain your sanity and motivation when you do so.

So, set aside time for research, outlining, writing, editing and proofreading. Even in the writing stage, don’t aim to write everything out together. Break it down paragraph wise and let yourself do justice to each one of them instead of rushing with it.

Keep a Strong Writing Schedule

Once you have broken down the writing process into smaller steps, allocate a definite time period to each of them - that includes the exact dates because only then can you hold yourself accountable for it.

Another aspect of keeping a strong writing schedule is knowing when you are your productive best and when your ideas are flowing. For some it can be early morning, for others it can be late at night.

So, find out your favourite writing period and maintain a strong writing schedule wherein you can get most of the writing done. Try and write at least something everyday so you don’t lose touch and go back to square one.

Create the Essay Outline

One of the most overlooked aspects of writing essays is creating outlines. “What has creating an outline got to do with being motivated,” you may ask.

Well, it helps because when you work on a solid outline, you realize that the next step is just populating the essay, knowing that you are not going off-track and following a logical sequence.

Creating an essay outline makes you feel closer to the end result because you know you have your research, notes and outline in place - now, you can get onto the writing part.

Conquer Writing Anxiety

Writing anxiety is when you are filled with fear and tension when you are met with any writing assignment. It may have arisen due to a bad experience in the past wherein you were dissed for your writing - and then this perception just stuck on.

Well, guess what, that’s not helping your “motivation” at all. It’s crippling.

Firstly, stop comparing your work to others and set aside your unrealistic expectations. For a change, don’t look at the bigger picture and just focus on the task at hand.

Read the assignment instructions, reach out to your instructor if you have concerns and start the process. Every time you second-guess yourself, identify it and reason it out instead of giving in to it.

As Antoniou and Moriarty aptly put it, “the most important lesson in developing one’s writing is to WRITE.”

Practice Freewriting

Sometimes, instead of feeding your demotivated self, you need to just put your foot down and start writing. This is what freewriting is - the process of writing whatever comes to you.

It helps you to overcome your mind blocks and gets you started on something you have been delaying for the longest time. Once you get the ball rolling, you can always come back to polish your essay and make it worthy of submission.

Here are 5 tips to freewrite successfully

Write the Introduction Last

From the time we started writing essays in school, we were taught to start essays with the introductory paragraph.

Yes, introductions do come first but that does not mean they need to be written first.

Let’s face it - introductory paragraphs face the most amount of pressure. Starting with an interesting hook, engaging the reader from the word go and ensuring your essay starts with a bang is the kind of pressure we are talking about.

Now, someone who is not too motivated to write is bound to crumble under this pressure. Hence, it’s a good idea to start with the body paragraphs and even write the conclusion before you can come back to write the introductory paragraph with a calm, composed and confident mind.

Find your Perfect Writing Space

Many might think this is overrated but we beg to differ.

You might think you can write on the couch today and tomorrow, get the writing down while sitting on the bed but that’s where you are making a mistake.

Having a dedicated space to think and write helps because you create a motivating and safe environment for yourself. From ensuring you sit in the right posture and having easy access to your tools and resources to maintaining a distraction-free space - sitting there to write is enough to get you in the ‘writing zone’.

So, find your perfect writing space and you are bound to see a spike in your productivity levels.

Reward Yourself

You remember how as kids our parents gave us a chocolate for tidying up our room or took us to the amusement park for scoring well in our exams? It helped, didn’t it? That’s because we were told we would be rewarded for doing something.

Not much has changed. You can try the same thing for yourself even today.

Rewards boost motivation because who doesn't love getting rewarded! So, every time you finish a chunk of your writing, celebrate that small win and reward yourself. It can be something as simple as catching another episode of your favourite show on Netflix or anything else that brings you joy.

Take Breaks

Talking about joy, taking regular breaks is extremely important to remain motivated because otherwise you just turn into an unhappy machine and you certainly don’t want that, do you?

Take a break from your writing - watch a movie, spend time with friends and family, go to your favorite restaurant or just head out for a walk in the park. Do anything to get away from your books so you can come back to your essay with a fresher mind.

Practical Tools to Stay Motivated While Writing your College Essay

If there is anything more difficult than finding motivation, it is staying motivated. But hey, why fear when technology is here!

Original: SourceHere are 4 practical online tools to help you stay motivated right through the essay writing process -


In today’s times, the biggest online distractions come from social media channels, Netflix and e-commerce websites. How is one supposed to even begin writing, given these circumstances?

This is where WriteMonkey can come to your rescue. This tool does not let anything come between you and your writing. It displays an empty screen, letting you stay focussed on writing and nothing else.


Organization is key - all the more when it comes to writing college essays. Trello is a planning tool that makes organization fun.

From keeping track of websites and planning drafts to creating a to-do list and adding priorities - this tool lets you plan your assignments well such that you don’t miss anything out.

Remember the tip about breaking down the writing process we spoke about earlier? Yes, Trello has a feature that lets you do that by creating subtasks and track their progress.

Focus Keeper

As the name suggests, Focus Keeper is meant to keep your focus going. This easy-to-use app needs you to plug in the tasks that needs to be completed, set the timer and start writing. It also allows for timely breaks to prevent you from reaching burnout.

Cold Turkey

Let’s face it - you cannot possibly finish your essays without internet and where there is internet, there is bound to be distraction.

Downloading Cold Turkey lets you maintain discipline because it turns your computer into a typewriter and allows you to set a time limit and word count goal. You are literally locked into this app - unless you don’t meet the daily goal, you won’t be able to log out.


While we agree it is not easy to be motivated to write a college essay, it is not impossible either. So, follow the tips, hacks and tools we have put together for you to supercharge your motivation and write a brilliant essay!

However, if everything else fails and you are still struggling to start your essay, we have a sure-fire solution for you and that is reaching out to essay writing experts.

Writers Per Hour is one such expert that can help with your college papers, no matter the type, length or time you have in hand. Just write to us with your requirements and we will get our professional writers on the job, guaranteeing to deliver superior-quality, 100%-plagiarism free and authentic essays.

last edit at Sep 23 2022