This lesson covers... how to decide on a topic and (finally!) begin writing.
By the end you should... feel inspired and ready to write a first draft.
I highly recommend doing a 3-hr workshop, if possible. Why? By the time you’ve covered the content in the 1-Hr and 2-Hr workshops, students will be really ready to write, so this hour could be their most productive yet--a time to capture their ideas before they forget them or get the positive feedback they need to get started.

Having said that, you’ll notice that there is a LOT of content to cover in the first two hours. So here are two options for how to spend the third hour:

How to Spend the Third Hour of a 3-Hr Workshop

Option A: Do the first and second hours of the workshop as indicated above, then split the third hour into two sections...
3.1 Picking a Topic and Getting Started on a Draft
3.2 Giving and Receiving Feedback
...and have students spend half the time working with a partner and half the time writing.

Option B (preferred): Spread the 2-hr workshop content over the third hour, allowing more time for the exercises (and the students) to breathe. If choosing this option, here’s where I’d spend a little more time:
  • 10 more minutes on the Warm-up Exercises, Essence Objects and Values Exercise
  • 5 more minutes on the Feelings and Needs Exercise
  • 10 more minutes on the Paired Sharing

Choosing Option B will leave you about 20 minutes or so. During that time, I say let students decide whether they’d like to start writing or get input from a partner. Tips on both of these are coming up below.

I've also mapped these two options out on the Quick Reference Guide here.

How to Efficiently Help Your Students Choose a Topic

For counselors who are able to work with their students in a one-on-one setting following the workshop, a 15-minute one-on-one chat could go a long way in helping pinpoint another, unexplored topic or at least building confidence in your student's current topic. Use this
15-Minute Top Selection Session Sign Up document
to easily get all of your students signed up. Feel free to make a copy of this document, edit it, and share it directly with your class of students and have them sign up for separate sessions.

Picking a Topic
It’s time to pick something and start writing! Word to the wise: Your topic may change. That’s okay. But you won’t know which topic works until you try it. There comes a time when you’ve got to pick something. 

This is that time.

So open up a blank document and start writing. Put on some headphones and music if it helps.

Need to relax a bit to get calm and inspired first? Try the meditation exercise below.

Remember: you don’t have to get it perfect the first time. In fact, you won’t. You just have to begin.

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