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Jun 13, 2009
Book V helps you find ways to overcome procrastination and other forms of writer's block by teaching you to honor your natural approach to writing and editing so you can produce high-quality material and complete your applications in advance of your deadlines.
Getting the Internship You Want: How to write APPIC essays that get you noticed . . . without completely losing your sanity Dr. John T. Carlsen Your Internship CoachBook V: Sharpening Your Writing Tools to Overcome Writer’s Block and Produce Excellent Writing
Copyright © 2008, 2011 John T. Carlsen, Psy.D. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.EXCEPT FOR USE IN A REVIEW, THE REPRODUCTION OR USE OF THIS WORKIN ANY FORM OR BY ANY ELECTRONIC, MECHANICAL, OR OTHER MEANS,NOW KNOWN OR HEREAFTER INVENTED, INCLUDING PHOTOCOPYING,RECORDING, AND IN ANY INFORMATION STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL SYSTEMIS FORBIDDEN WITHOUT THE WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE WRITER ANDPUBLISHER PRODUCED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR ORDERING INFORMATION, CONTACT: John T. Carlsen, Psy.D. (773) 975-4297 DrCarlsen@PDI-online.com www.PDI-online.com
Chapter I: Prepare to Write Thoughtful, Comprehensive Model EssaysThe APPI essays are the part of your application packet in which you presentyourself as the person behind your professional role. Aside from the total numberof experiences you have had, these essays provide you the chance to set yourselfapart from your competitors.Often, selection committees start by simply reading these responses for anintroduction to who you are. So, be sure to spend enough time thinking aboutthem to make the best first impression you can. Think about your philosophy as atherapist, your values about being part of a helping profession, the people andexperiences that have shaped your career goals.You will save yourself a significant amount of time if you start by writing a M odelEssay for each of the four required essays and worry about customizing them toeach site later: You will avoid writing each essay for each site, and you will havemore time to think about how to match your particular qualifications with the needsof each individual internship program.Remember that, to write a comprehensive but brief response, it is easier to start bywriting a longer draft that enables you to cover the material fully. Then, you canrevise and edit what you have written, condensing your sentences and fitting theminto the number of words allowed for each essay.Also, realize that writing yourapplications might represent “. . . the secret to writing persuasiveyour first experience of putting applications is identifying youryour thoughts about internshipand your career plans into unique personal qualities andwords. Before now, you might professional qualifications andnever before have taken the finding ways to present thetime to answer questions such asthese in detail. So, avoid the persuasively.”tendency to believe that youhave to articulate your responsesperfectly the first time or to believe that you must fit your responses into theallotted number of words.Instead, allow yourself enough time to refine and polish your essays until they sayexactly what you want to say. With each essay, you have two main goals: Copyright © 2008 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
2 CHAPTER I: Prepare to Write Comprehensive Model Essays1. You want to present the very best qualifications, both personal and professional, you have to offer as an applicant. Remember that your personal and professional sense of self will evolve and change continually.2. You want to present your qualifications in such a way that you stimulate selection committee members’ curiosity about you - so they have to schedule an interview to learn more about you. You do not want them to base their selection decision only on your written materials.Also, do not think that what you say in these responses must be permanently trueabout you. Over time, as you finish your training and move into the profession,your philosophy and goals will probably change dramatically. In fact, it would besurprising if they did not change, given the intense experiences you will have.As stated previously, the secret to writing persuasive applications is: identifyingyour unique personal qualities and professional qualifications and findingw ays to present them persuasively. A central assumption in this manual isthat you will continue revising and editing your rough drafts - making severalversions - until you arrive at final drafts that convey your most importantqualifications in clear, concise, and understandable sentences.Try not to feel overwhelmed by the amount of material you generate with yourbrainstorming exercises at the beginning of the writing process. The more materialyou have to choose from in writing your documents, the greater your chances ofuncovering your best and being able to highlight it. Copyright © 2008 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
CHAPTER I: Prepare to Write Comprehensive Model Essays 3 Overcome Your Writers BlockBefore you become too involved in writing your applications, you might want topause for this review of the writing process and learn to make the most of yourwriting sessions. Whenever writers need to write important material underpressure, they run the risk of hitting writers block.What is writer’s block? It is simply the writers version of creative panic.If you are struggling with writer’s block, you might, as you sit down to write,initially find yourself staring at the blank computer screen or a piece of paper forseveral minutes...or even several hours. As you continue this visual fixation, manyof your greatest fears might begin to rise to the surface. You hear yourself asking: "W hat if I have nothing to say...or, at least, nothing w orth saying? “W hat if no one understands w hat I’m trying to say?" "W hat if no one takes me seriously?" "W hat if I m ake mistakes in gram m ar or punctuation?" "W hat if I com e across looking naive or foolish?"Whether or not they are true, each of these fears can raise doubts about yourexisting abilities and your levels of competence. And, unless you find ways to facethem directly and work through them, these fears can even hamper your successthroughout the entire application process. How Writer’s Block Stops You Cold and Keeps You From Getting StartedYour fear of looking bad to others might prevent you from even sitting down tostart writing your first thoughts. It may keep you from recognizing - andchallenging - your hidden expectations that you can write something perfectly, thefirst time. Finally, it might convince you that your rough drafts will never reach thelevel of quality you expect in your final copies. To cope successfully with writersblock, therefore, you must begin to identify - and work hard to counteract - theways it manifests in your individual circumstances.Typically, writers block generally emerges in one of a few different forms. The first Copyright © 2008 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
4 CHAPTER I: Prepare to Write Comprehensive Model Essaysappears when you have the overall feeling that you have nothing to say and windup staring at a blank computer screen or piece of paper for several minutes, unableto make your fingers type or put your pen on the paper. You might get up fromthe chair and pace, turn on the television or radio, or find some other distractingactivity to fill your boredom.A second form of writers block appears when you k now internally that you have agreat deal to say, yet cannot even get the first words out. Frequently, this kind ofwriter’s block reflects a strongly-developed, but unconscious, attitude ofperfectionism: It leads you to believe that you m ust to start out with exactly theright sentence before your can allow the rest of your thoughts to begin flowingacross the page. You might find yourself going over and over the sam e sentence- refining it, rearranging it, crossing it out and starting over completely, tearing offsheet after sheet of paper, or opening one new document after another. Yet,despite your best efforts, you cannot move beyond the first sentence or two towrite the rest of your draft.In his classic book, The Courage toCreate, noted psychologist and author “Whenever you try to createDr. Rollo May explains the psychologicalexperiences of fear and terror that often something out of nothing,lie deep within the unconscious of our some of your most basic,writer’s mind, especially at the beginning long-standing fears are likelyof the creative process. He says that, to appear.”w henever you try to create somethingout of nothing, some of your most basic,long-standing fears are likely to appear.Notice, as you begin and continue the process of writing your applications, how thisoccurs in your experience or writing. For example, you might discover: 1. The fear that what you create will appear to others as inadequate, 2. The fear that you will say something m eaningless or em barrassing, or 3. The fear that others will see you for the trainee you actually are, rather than the one you profess to be.Dr. May says that fears such as these might prevent you from starting the creativeprocess at all. Or, cause you to become lost in an relentless editorial loop thatkeeps you from moving forward and completing this task.You are not, how ever, alone in this fear. Copyright © 2008 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
CHAPTER I: Prepare to Write Comprehensive Model Essays 5Visual and performing artists often experience a similar version of these fears.Painters often stare at a blank canvas for days on end before daring to touch it witha paintbrush or drawing pencil. Actors, directors, and set designers frequentlystare at an empty stage for a long period of time, unable to imagine what kinds ofscenes and backdrops they would like to create.Depending upon your previous success with facing thesefears, your typical response might be to give into themcompletely - and simply allow yourself to procrastinate orperseverant in one part of your creative process.Throughout high school and college, you might havetaught yourself to wait until the last possible minute -and “pull an all-nighter”. During those days of youth,you might even have been able to produce acceptable work - while surviving onminimal sleep and inadequate nutrition. But, like it or not, those days are gone.You cannot, unfortunately, afford to take this approach to applying for internship.You have reached the doctoral level of training, so selection committees have muchhigher expectations of how you will present yourself and what you will say. Moreimportantly, you are clearly competing against many experienced and highly-qualified applicants. So, you can no longer take the chances associated with thislong-standing habit:The consequences are, sim ply, too severe.Unlike the relative unimportance of any single essay or research paper, thecontents of your internship applications heavily influence - and largely determ ine- whether or not you receive interviews at your chosen sites. So, they basicallydetermine your chances of receiving the internship training you want and need.Actually, the process of writing your internship applications offers you severalchances to begin addressing these unconscious fears more directly: Because youwill be engaged in this writing process over several weeks, you will have numerousopportunities to recognize, and begin changing, your existing writing habits.Given the depth of this process, you might even start making significant progress inovercoming your writer’s block. If you, typically, ignore these fears and give intoavoidance, you will certainly benefit from learning to recognize them when theyappear. Develop Strategies for Blasting Through Writer’s Block Copyright © 2008 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
6 CHAPTER I: Prepare to Write Comprehensive Model EssaysTo prevent writer’s block, you can stop to think carefully about your writing styleand plan a strategy that allows your thoughts to flow smoothly onto the paper orthe computer screen. First,start recognizing that theentire process of w riting TECHNIQUES TO SPARK YOUR CREATIVITYactually does ex cite your AND HELP YOU OVERCOME WRITERS BLOCKgreatest fears and ex poseour deepest vulnerabilities. 1. Jot down your first thoughts and rough out anAnd, this reality will never overall writing plan when you look at your internship applications and before you becomechange: Each time you sit too involved in reading them in depth. Allowdown to write, you are your first ideas to emerge before allowinginvolved in an act of creation. them to be influenced by what you read.Each time you put your 2. Outline your main ideas and break them downthoughts into words, you are logically into sub-ideas and details using abringing something into Roman numeral outline. Organize the detailsexistence that did not exist under each main idea to keep them organized.before. 3. Carry a pad of paper with you at all times so you can jot down ideas that occur to you whenTherefore, you need to find you are not involved in the writing process.ways to reduce your Creativity works best when we allow it tovulnerability throughout the happen spontaneously rather than trying toentire creative process so you force it.can complete your applications. 4. If something on your mind or in your heartOne of the most effective keeps your attention, write it in a journal -solutions comes from planning promise yourself that you will return to it lateradequate time for writing and and deal with it more directly. This will freeediting your rough drafts. This your mind from your emotions to concentratem eans you m ust get started on the task at hand.as soon as possible.Second, start recognizing andacknowledging that, when you feel so vulnerable, you will also probably feel moreanxious. And, you might attempt to cope with the anxiety by becoming self-critical.You might even begin to believe that you can avoid the criticism of others bycriticizing yourself first. Unfortunately, you might criticize yourself when you feelparticularly vulnerable in this creative process.So, practice using m ore positive internal self-talk . That is, consciouslychange the words you use internally in evaluating your performance as you movealong. Copyright © 2008 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
CHAPTER I: Prepare to Write Comprehensive Model Essays 7Third, remember that the importance of writing competitive internship applicationsmight intensify your existing anxieties. The emphasis that professors, trainingdirectors, supervisors, and classmates have placed on finding a good internshipright away might lead you to believe that you must achieve perfection in writingyour applications. As if writing were not already an extremely vulnerable processof revealing your fragile thoughts! Promoting your qualifications to several groupsof unseen strangers can make the experience of writing even m ore challenging.In summary, remember that any tim e you have to w rite under pressure -especially w hen the stak es are as high as they are for internshipapplicants - you can anticipate ex periencing w riter’s block . Knowing thisahead of time can help you gain control and manage your own particular kinds ofwriting obstacles. In other words, learning to combine self-discipline and self-carecan help you manage your anxiety and learn to prevent feelings of beingoverwhelmedThe following sections will help you gain a clearer understanding of the writing andediting processes. They will also help you to identify your own writing style.Combining this knowledge of the writing/editing processes with your individualwriting style will help you learn to work through - and overcome - the obstacles ofwriter’s block. Copyright © 2008 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
Getting the Internship You Get the full book W ant: (or the entire set) at: The How to write APPIC essays Internship Resource that get you noticed . . . without Center Store completely losing your sanity Dr. John T. Carlsen Your Internship Coach Book V: Sharpening Your Writing Tools to Overcome Writer’s Block and Produce Excellent WritingAbout the bookFinally, for a generation of doctoral students who are dedicated to becoming highly-competent psychologists but facing unprecedented competition for internshippositions comes Getting the Internship You Want, Dr. John T. Carlsen’s provenapproach to distinguishing yourself from your fellow applicants. A completelypractical approach to marketing your qualifications that not only tells you what todo, but also shows you how to do it.