How To Do My Essay When I Have No Idea What To Write About?

Writer’s block could possibly be the worst thing that’s ever happened to an unsuspecting student, especially if your assignment is timed. It can take anywhere between five seconds and forever for a good idea to pop into your head, and when you fall on the “forever” end of the spectrum...well, usually your essay turns out to be a flop.

  • So, how to do your essay when you have no idea what to write about?
  • Start with the prompt. (Skip this if there is no prompt.)
  • Your prompt should tell you what you need to write about. If you’re having problems with it, ask yourself why - is the topic too general? Something you have no experience with? Or is it that you just can’t think of the answer to whatever question the prompt poses?

If you’re not sure how to respond to the prompt you might want to take a few minutes to brainstorm. Think about how you would answer if you were talking instead of writing. If your friend, who is having a very serious conversation with you, asks you the question in the prompt, what do you say? This helps get your mind working because when you think like that you’re considering what your opinion on the topic really is, apart from everything you’ve learned in class.

If you don’t have a prompt, or if you have a really general one, you’re lucky. Think about what interests you, since it’s a lot easier to write about something you like or feel strong about. If this is like a narrative/college admission essay-type thing, you probably have a lot of different options - what you consider having “no idea what to write about” might actually be not being able to decide on the best one. If that’s the case, you should jot down a list on a piece of paper, maybe writing notes next to each idea with what you would include if you decided to use that as your topic. Then determine what your purpose/theme would be for each, and pick the one you think conveys the strongest message or that means the most to you.

A lot of the time writer’s block comes from you continuously beating down your own ideas. Sometimes it pays just to write what you actually think about the topic, instead of searching for the “right answer” or what you think will get you the grade you want. After all, an essay is generally an exploration of your own thoughts on a particular subject. While your English teacher can tell you what to write about and might hint at how you “should” interpret a particular piece of literature, you have no obligation to feel the same way and you can demonstrate that in your essay as long as you use valid reasoning and evidence.


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