MBA Essay Top Technique: Creating a Rough, Rough Draft

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MBA Essay Top Technique: Creating a Rough, Rough Draft

Trust me when I tell you that the hardest part of writing your MBA essay will be the beginning. Getting started – actually typing out those first few words – will prove the most daunting task.

It gets easier, though. Really it does.

So while you may be tempted to push off starting your essays, I assure you – the sooner you get started, the sooner this difficult phase will be over and you'll get to have some fun with your essay.

A good way to motivate yourself to jump into the essay writing process is to keep in mind that your first draft is just that…a first draft, otherwise known as a rough draft, or what I like to call, a rough, rough draft. Okay good – I just sensed that your heart rate slowed to a more normal rate. See, rough, rough drafts aren't so scary after all, are they?

I recommend you use the following rough, rough draft writing technique to help loosen yourself up and overcome this first and largest writing hurdle:

  1. Do it now. Stop procrastinating and designate the next 15 minutes to creating your rough, rough draft.
  2. Turn off your phone. Yeah, you heard me. Actually, I'm going to take this one step further: Turn off your internet. This is not the time for G-chat or Facebook or Words with Friends. Come on, it's just 15 minutes. Surely you can unplug for 15 minutes….
  3. Spend the entire 15 minutes writing…and don't stop until the buzzer dings. Words beget words, which means once you get your first few words out, you'll have the momentum to keep going. Even if you start by saying, "I have no idea what I want to write here. Hmmm. What are some of my greatest skills? Hmmm. I'm good at basketball. Nah, that's not relevant. Well, maybe it is. I mean, I did start that pick-up neighborhood basketball league." Just write. Ramble. And you don't need to write in full sentences like I just did above. "Basketball – pick-up game" will get the job done as well…which leads to my next point….
  4. Don't sweat the small stuff (like grammar). Now is not the time to worry about grammar, spelling, or style. Now is the time to focus on getting those tumbling thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Here's another point: Use paper if you can write faster than you can type, and a computer if you type faster than you can write. Your goal is to capture your thoughts as quickly as possible, so use whichever medium works best for that.
  5. Remember that no one will see this (unless you show it to someone). Please do not be self conscious during the rough, rough draft writing phase. Feel free to write about your strengths without worrying about sounding cocky, or write about your weaknesses without hurting your ego. Whine, complain, write a poem. Do what you need to do overcome the scary image of a blank screen. Writing SOMETHING at this stage is the goal. That SOMETHING is up to you.

Final note: This is a technique that you can use to overcome writer's block for any or all of your MBA application essays, not just the first one. Anytime the thought "Oh no, ANOTHER essay. What on earth am I going to write this time??" pops into your head, that's your cue to JUST START WRITING.

For more tried and true essay writing techniques and tools, please see How to Write and Edit MBA Essays now!

This post is part of an ongoing series, MBA Admissions A-Z, that offers applicants insightful tips on every aspect of the business school admissions process. Join us as we explore the ABCs of the MBA! ~ Helping You Write Your Best

This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of

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