Hello Warriors! Now that the semester is up and running, the first rounds of papers are beginning to roll in. Take a look at some of these helpful brainstorming tips to get you started:
1. Free writing
Free writing involves letting your thoughts flow freely on paper or your computer screen. Set aside a time frame like 15 minutes for writing or determine to write and fill a certain number of pages and get down to it. Write whatever comes to your mind. Don’t worry about typos, spelling or any other surface-level issues of grammar and style. Just write until your time is up or your page goal is attained.
When you are done, read through what you have written. You will no doubt find a lot of filler in your text, but there will also be golden nuggets of insights, discoveries and other little gems in there that you can pick out and develop for your projects. Even if you don’t discover any new idea nuggets, you will stir up your creative mind and unearth tit bits of raw concepts buried deep in your mind you can develop.
Clustering, also known as idea mapping, is a strategy used to explore relationships and associations between ideas. If you have run out of ideas on a subject or topic, write down the subject in the center of a page. Highlight the subject either by underlining or circling it. Think of an idea that relates to the subject and jot it down on your page. Link the idea to the central subject.
Think of another idea that relates to the new idea you just created. Link this new idea with the previous idea. Repeat the process until you have a web of ideas on the page that are all derived from the main subject. Now you can visually see ideas that relate to your main subject. Identify clusters of ideas that interest you and use the key terms you attached to them as the departure points for your writing project.
3. Journalistic 5W’s and 1H
When researching a story and the angle to take when covering the story, journalists ask the 5W’s and 1H questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Use the same technique to generate topic ideas, possible angles to take on the topic and the most pertinent information to include when addressing the topic.
Write each of the question words on a sheet of paper and leave spaces to provide answers for the questions. Answer all the questions relating to your topic in brief and then review the answers. Do you have more to say about one or more of the questions, such as more on the “where” and “why” than the “what” or are your answers evenly balanced?
You will discover that you know more or little about particular question words relating to your topic. Leverage that awareness to generate new writing ideas. Research your topic further to improve on areas you are least knowledgeable in, build on areas you are most knowledgeable in or the best way to organize what you already know to balance your topic more.
What are your favorite strategies to get started?
Share with us!
As always, the Writing Studio is here to help you with all your writing needs.
We hope to see you soon!