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Section 4.1 Brainstorming

Before you begin to write, first think about how you like to think. Do you prefer talking through your ideas? Writing down everything that's going through your mind? Drawing? Mapping? There is no right or wrong way to brainstorm. Figure out what works best for you, and then use that knowledge to develop brainstorming skills that are specific to you.

Some Brainstorming Strategies
  • Talk to a friend about your topic, ideas, and potential arguments.

  • Draw a picture of your argument in order to develop it.

  • Freewrite for 15 minutes everything you know about your topic and then try to organize those ideas into conceptual clusters.

  • Jot down a list of bulleted words or phrases about your topic and then circle the ones that are most interesting to you.

  • Make a list of questions about your topic (who, what, when, where, why, how) and see which ones you can answer, which ones have multiple answers, and which ones you lack information for.

  • Write down your topic and approach it from five different directions of analysis: Describe it, locate it within context, apply it to your life/current events, compare it to another topic, argue for/against it.

  • Put your topic in the center of an idea map, and then make a branch for each idea that you have.

  • Do some preliminary research about your topic and make note of any trends or patterns you observe.

  • Think about your topic while you are doing something else, like yoga, cooking, or reading a book for pleasure.