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Mood is an important factor in writing great essays.

By Ben Feuer

Well, folks, it's getting to be that time of year again -- that time when young people's thoughts turn to top schools, and their fingers turn to keyboards to start tapping away at those admissions essays.  Some of you are probably excited to be finally getting started, but that excitement will soon fade when you are faced with an intimidatingly empty page.

A fascinating recent study examined people's emotional states while browsing Facebook, and found that the moods of their online 'friends' could easily infect them -- a viral mood state, if you will.  Aside from how mind-blowing it is that that is even possible, this should illustrate to you just how easy it is for people to drift into a state of anxiety or depression when faced with an intimidating task like writing an essay.

Your emotional state matters when you write -- your environment, how much sleep you've gotten, how well fed you are -- and it can have a big positive (or negative) impact on what you choose to write and how well you do it.  Since projecting confidence and contentment unselfconsciously is important to successful essay writing, take whatever necessary precautions you have to to make sure you write at a time and in a way that is conducive to doing your best work.

Here are a few tips we here at Forster-Thomas have found useful when we put pen to paper.

Keep a schedule.  Don't try and 'squeeze' your writing in whenever you can -- dedicate a time in advance when you know you will be writing and prepare yourself mentally and emotionally.

Don't try to write for long periods if you are not used to it.  Your productivity will decline precipitously if you try to 'binge write'.

Be well fed and well rested.  Really!  Mood and state of mind matters.

Don't write distracted.  Pay attention to what you are trying to say -- re-read what you write aloud.  Does it actually say what you meant for it to say?

Every writer has his own secret bag of tricks to lure his muse out of hiding.  These are a few of ours.


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