Brainstorming is a creative technique for solving complex problems by generating alternative ideas. It can be done in a group or individually with a clear objective and strategy. Brainstorming ideas for writing often involves classifying what you know and expanding your thoughts to develop this knowledge into an essay or story. It also entails organizing your thought process to develop a freely flowing document for a specific audience. Hence, brainstorming helps you conceptualize a topic in different contexts and articulate your ideas in a meaningful way.
Brainstorm Ideas for Writing
Developing ideas for writing entails an articulate plan to establish a starting point and outline the flow of your essay or short story. People often get stuck creating researchable topics or focusing on areas without sufficient information to write. Writing a book or completing your first essay in a new course may seem challenging since your knowledge of the chosen topic is still limited. Brainstorming helps you organize your thoughts and expand your understanding by exploring new paths and directions. It also deviates your mind from what you thought you knew to create new concepts for your document. Here are some tips you can use for brainstorming ideas for writing.
1. Free writing
Freewriting entails writing your ideas as they develop without any interest in flow, grammar, or relevance. Think about your topic or main idea and start writing. Don’t stop to edit or think; just write. You are brainstorming, not sitting for your IELTS test. As the term suggests, freewriting is about what you know at the moment. The objective is to highlight the important details that may arise from thinking about the main idea. Stopping to edit will impede your thinking and distract you from developing unique concepts. Brainstorming is about developing ideas from the thought process by discussing different perspectives. Freewriting helps you document your thoughts without analyzing them. You may end up with many irrelevant details, but analyzing the content can lead to impressive concepts for your topic.
Listing entails jotting down your ideas for later use in bullets. Here you write in short phrases and words as you think or read about a topic to keep a record of the concepts you wish to analyze when writing. Listing helps you record and challenges you to justify inclusion by keeping the listed items in your thought process. Thinking and freewriting are primarily helpful in creative writing, especially when you don’t have a rubric to follow. They help you develop an opinion about a topic and entertain any ideas supporting it.
A More Focused Approach to Brainstorming Ideas for College Essays
In most cases, writing a college essay involves developing a topic, if your professor doesn’t provide one, and researching related concepts. Listing the first two strategies may not be suitable when working on a formal document with clear-cut rubrics from your institutions. Your professor may have already provided you with a step-by-step guide on what should be included in your essay. Freewriting and listing may not be suitable for an academic essay brainstorming session unless you are asked to write a narrative about your holiday activities or a short story.
3. Concept mapping
Brainstorming ideas for writing essays entails expanding your topic with new concepts based on knowledge from the additional research you have been conducting. Before you start organizing your thoughts, create a concept map of what you already know. Write the main idea or topic at the top of the page and start branching with every aspect of that topic that you feel is important. Alternatively, you can create a mind map, and instead of a downward flowing chart, you can conceptualize the topic with an outward branching diagram. Start with the main topic at the middle of the page and create a branch for its concepts around it.
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Clustering is also helpful, especially in creating writing. Create a mind map of the words and phrases associated with your topic by documenting the closely related concepts. For instance, you can write your main idea at the center of the page and surround it with closely related ones. Use only phrases and words to create a cluster-like structure that will help you expand your thinking
5. Think outside the box
Don’t limit your thinking to the topic or subject under exploration. Incorporate ideas from other academic courses and real-life experiences to broaden your imagination. Suppose you are writing a psychology essay, including your knowledge of biological concepts and cultural studies. Brainstorming is about the spontaneity of ideas that guides you towards the most suitable solution for your problem. You must be willing to entertain different perspectives and issues that could affect your thought process. Also Read – What is a cubic yard? How to calculate rightly?
With different perspectives, you get to exercise critical thinking and analysis. Cubing allows you to view your concepts from six different angles. Describe each idea in the simplest form, including its classification and category, if any. Compare your concept with other closely related ones to identify the differences and similarities. Associate the idea with what you know, including assumptions. At this point, you have a clearer picture of what you are dealing with. You can now analyze your idea to gauge its suitability to your topic. Try applying it in your preferred approach to see how it fits with others. You can then provide arguments for and against the concept to reaffirm or discredit its suitability to your topic. The six perspectives allow you to understand the complexity of the main idea and its branches.
Writing requires some level of creativity and involves connecting related and unrelated concepts. Ideas in a brainstorming session keep changing as the writer introduces and entertains new knowledge. As a result, losing track of the objective and deviating to unrelated issues is easy. The concept mapping keeps the brainstorming process focused on the main topic and reduces distraction. An outline, on the other hand, helps you develop a more realistic structure of how you would like your essay to look. Outlining the main concepts also narrows your topic to the important areas, creating a more focused brainstorming session.
Brainstorming for writing involves searching for ideas demonstrating your creativity or understanding of a topic. You must always start with what you know and expand your perspective to entertain different concepts and aspects related to the topic. Use prompts to provoke your thoughts and challenge yourself to analyze the topic critically. Don’t discard any ideas at this point; even bad ideas help you develop good ones. Borrow from others by incorporating concepts from books and stories you have read or watched before. You may need to incorporate knowledge from different fields to develop a complete document.