The application deadlines for many colleges are right ahead, which means that it’s time to stop procrastinating and start writing those dreaded college essays. Oftentimes, the toughest part of the writing process is getting started. Who knew that a blank piece of paper could be so intimidating?

If you find yourself getting stuck, try talking to a friend or family member about experiences in your life that are important to you—without a prompt in mind! Pretend you’re not about to write a college essay, but rather that you’re just having a casual conversation about yourself. Have whomever you’re working with jot down notes on your discussion for your reference.

Once you look over those notes, it will be easier to see what you truly value. You also might find some unlikely connections between your experiences, passions, and the major you’ve chosen to pursue. With a little creativity, you can almost always find a way to make that idea fit into at least one essay prompt, so don’t discount seemingly insignificant ideas. They may end up tying your entire essay together!

By Erin Muehlhausen, English Tutor