How to Brainstorm for an Essay. Sometimes it happens that you’re on fire: once you put paper to pen, the words fall into place and the ideas keep coming. More often, however, rushing things brings quite the opposite result –you get stuck and waste a lot of valuable time. This is when brainstorming comes into play.
Frankly speaking, it is not a walk in the park; the process may be challenging and rather time-consuming, but it’s worth it. Why? Because you stop running before the hounds and take some time to think, analyze, and build logical connections between your thoughts, ideas, and arguments.
Perhaps, your teacher has been telling you over and over again how important it is to do the pre-writing phase. Most likely, you’ve tried brainstorming before and found it useless and ineffective. Here’s the thing: it is effective when you’re deliberate about it and know what you’re doing. Learn theseeight tips and brainstorm any open-ended topic with high efficiency and a pinch of fun.
Pick Your Brainstorming Location
Although it may seem strange, the place can make a huge difference when it comes to brainstorming. For example, a switched-on television will most likely be a distraction; but your favorite tune or songs, on the other hand, can increase productivity and whip up your creativity. You might as well prefer solitude and be in the groove around deep silence.There’s no single correct choice; the place will be unique for every person and you have to find yours.
Stick to Your Goals
While the gist of brainstorming is to jot down as many ideas as you can only come up with, you shouldn’t approach the process thoughtlessly and negligently. Set a goal before you get down to work and decide what it is that you need to brainstorm. You might need to narrow down the topic, develop a few strong arguments, think through your thesis statement, or make up a list of credible resources for your research. Truth be told, experience shows that all of these points should be worked through but by all means, you want to avoid the jumble of thoughts. Therefore, making up a plan and setting the limits for each of the brainstorming phases is a good idea.
Jot Down Your Ideas
Definitely, some of them will make more sense than others, but it’s not the time to pass all the ideas through your internal filter yet. The point is to write everything that comes to your mind, and only then, once you’ve finished, sift it through to pick the worthiest. With that said, take a pen and a paper (or open a Word doc on your computer) and start making a list of your best and worst ideas to come back to them later. Don’t jump into judgment though; it will only slow down the process.
Define the Key Purpose of the Essay
Is it an informative piece? Should it inspire deeper consideration or a call to action? Or, perhaps, you want to motivate your readers for some changes? Think about the ultimate purpose of your essay when brainstorming ideas. While it may seem a waste of time, having a clear vision of what a reader can take away from your essay is the core. It will help you keep the main focus in view and stay on track during the writing process.
Use A Freewriting Technique
This pre-writing technique helps authorsset themselves up for writing, get some inspiration, and overcome writer’s block. The idea is to start putting words on paperand the intent is not to fully cover the topic but to understand if it is worth your time and effort. A few minutes of freewriting should be enough for you to realize if you can cover the waterfront of this issue, as well as it willhelp you gather your wits and awaken your creativity.
Make Up a Mind Map
While listing all the ideas down on paper is, probably, the most popular brainstorming technique, it may become confusing when ideas are many and you don’t have a good method of transforming a mess into a clear structure. A mind map, on the other hand, can help visualize, arrange, and show how your ideas are connected. Start with the main one and then surround it with several more, smaller ones. Use lines or other ways to show how they are connected. This will help you distinguish the most pertinent ideas, as well as get some vision of the essay structure.
Gather a Support Team
Racking your brain over ideas for an essay is nice of you, but in good company, the result will come way sooner. People are a mine of information, and they may help you see the other side of the medal or give you a clue about something you don’t understand. Truth be told, it’s never odd to ask your parents, friends, or groupmates to brainstorm with you when you get stuck. They may know what you don’t know, see the full picture better, or simply have stronger idea-generating skills. Two heads are better than one, after all.
Take some time to catch a breath
No matter how tempting it is to get down to work as soon as you finish brainstorming, hold your horses. Now, when you finally have all your ideas noted and visualized, it’s time to take a break and let them sink in. Your brain needs time to process the information; who knows – it may come up with more ideas, unexpected arguments, or some felicitous wordings.
Put away your notes, take a walk, play with your dog, or exercise a little bit. Then, witha fresh mind and ready to work, start writing your essay.
And last but not least, never forget that everything is going fine when you have a sheer interest in it. “Find the topic you are enthusiastic about, and inventive ideas won’t be long in coming,” insists a research paper writer Ellen Miller. Can’t agree more!