WRITING THE COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY: Diary of a College Application Essay

October 26, 2012

Finished my essay about two days ago, then let it “cook.” Didn’t read it, tried not to think about it although it seems that’s all anyone at good old SoLa is talking about these days. Then, the big moment… I read it again and… I liked it! Well, most of it. There were parts that still needed work but by taking that little break, I was able to see them really clearly. Like, repeating words. It’s hard to notice sometimes but you need variety in your word choice. And also, sentence structure, gotta give that a little rhythm, like short one, long one, then one that begins with a prepositional phrase, then two short ones and so on. But the big thing I noticed in my second, or was it third draft was that sometimes I got in my own way. What I mean by that is that I was cruising along with an awesome point about how taking my photos of the senior citizens in my neighborhood really taught me about how lonely it can get when you’re old, and instead of sticking to that – what I learned – I suddenly started talking about how my grandpa was a drummer in an all girl band. And even though that’s true (and kinda creepy), it still threw the whole essay out of whack. So in my next draft (4???) I pulled out anything that wasn’t right on the point. That hurt because some of was pretty good and killing the little chickadees that I had hatched myself was tough. But guess what? The essay got even better.

Whew! So much to say about 500 measly words.

October 27, 2012

Showed the essay to Nadine, Ellie and Mishkin who are all awesome writers. I figured that was a good number to learn a little more about how it was working. Ellie and Nadine said I needed more specifics about the old people so I added that stuff in tonight. Only now the essay is 573 words.
Stayin’ cool, gonna handle it, yeah. ‘Cause last year in English I learned all about editing strategies. Like, take out a big chunk first, instead of just chipping away a word at a time. And, if you used three words to describe something, use one instead. Or, cut the adjectives completely. You can also get into it faster, and wrap it up a little quicker, too, both of which I did. So here I am sitting pretty at 504 words and I am… toast.

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