3 brainstorming techniques to help you craft the perfect essay

After you have understood the title, the next step of the writing process is to generate ideas. The best way to do this is by a process called 'brainstorming'. The page gives information on what brainstorming is, as well as describing three useful brainstorming techniques, namely clustering, listing, and freewriting.

What is brainstorming?

Brainstorming is a technique which is used to get as many ideas as you can, as quickly as you can. The words 'many' and quickly' are important. A common mistake students make when brainstorming is to stop after writing down only a few ideas. This is not 'brainstorming'.

As the word 'storm' suggests, it is something which should have much energy and power, leading to a flood of ideas. Although brainstorming may take some time, it will save you time in the long run. There is nothing worse than racing confidently into an essay then getting stuck for ideas halfway through (i.e.

'writer's block').

Clustering

Clustering, also called mind-mapping, is a visual brainstorming technique. It is especially useful for visual learners. The advantage of this technique is that ideas are organised on the page, making it easier to move to the outlining stage of the process. As a result, it is the most popular brainstorming method with students.

Below is an example of the clustering style of brainstorming. This was for a short (250 word) essay, written under exam conditions, with the title: 'Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the internet'.

Example 1

3 Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Craft the Perfect Essay

Listing, as its name suggests, is a brainstorming technique in which you make a list of ideas. The advantage of this technique is that it enables ideas to be generated more quickly than with clustering, as the ideas can be written in any order.

Below are two examples of the listing style of brainstorming. Both are for the same title as above, namely 'Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the internet'.

Example 2

3 Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Craft the Perfect Essay

Example 3

3 Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Craft the Perfect Essay

Freewriting is a brainstorming activity in which the writer writes anything they can about a topic, in continuous prose, hoping that one idea will lead to another. The advantage of this technique is that it might enable you to generate ideas when the other methods fail. However, it is not generally favoured by students of academic writing. It takes more time, and the writing you produce will be disorganised and will need to be discarded at the end. It is more useful when writing creative works such as stories. Try this method if you think this will be a good technique for you:

  1. Write the topic at the top of your paper.
  2. Write as much as you can about the topic. Include as many supporting facts, details, and examples as you can, but do not worry if you do not have many at this stage.

How to Write a Great College Essay, Step-by-Step

3 Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Craft the Perfect Essay

Writing your personal statement for your college application is an undeniably overwhelming project. Your essay is your big shot to show colleges who you are—it's totally reasonable to get stressed out. But don't let that stress paralyze you.

This guide will walk you through each step of the essay writing process to help you understand exactly what you need to do to write the best possible personal statement.

I'm also going to follow an imaginary student named Eva as she plans and writes her college essay, from her initial organization and brainstorming to her final edits.

By the end of this article, you'll have all the tools you need to create a fantastic, effective college essay.

So how do you write a good college essay? The process starts with finding the best possible topic, which means understanding what the prompt is asking for and taking the time to brainstorm a variety of options.

Next, you'll determine how to create an interesting essay that shows off your unique perspective and write multiple drafts in order to hone your structure and language.

Once your writing is as effective and engaging as possible, you'll do a final sweep to make sure everything is correct.

  • This guide covers the following steps:
  • #1: Organizing#2: Brainstorming#3: Picking a topic#4: Making a plan#5: Writing a draft#6: Editing your draft#7: Finalizing your draft#8: Repeating the process
  • feature Image: John O'Nolan/Flickr

Step 1: Get Organized

The first step in how to write a college essay is figuring out what you actually need to do.

Although many schools are now on the Common App, some very popular colleges, including University of Texas and University of California, still have their own applications and writing requirements.

Even for Common App schools, you may need to write a supplemental essay or provide short answers to questions.

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Before you get started, you should know exactly what essays you need to write. Having this information allows you to plan the best approach to each essay and helps you cut down on work by determining whether you can use an essay for more than one prompt.

Start Early

Writing good college essays involves a lot of work: you need dozens of hours to get just one personal statement properly polished, and that's before you even start to consider any supplemental essays.

In order to make sure you have plenty of time to brainstorm, write, and edit your essay (or essays), I recommend starting at least two months before your first deadline

5 Techniques for Brainstorming Your College Essay Topic in 15 Minutes — Elite Educational Institute

It’s the fall of your senior year of high school. Hopefully by now, you have settled—or are at least close to settling—on the list of colleges and universities you’ll be applying to. Now it’s time to sit down and start in on your college essays if you haven’t already.

For the Common Application, there are seven possible essay prompts to respond to. How do you begin to choose one, and how do you start writing?

The first step is to back up. Before you write anything of value, you must first pre-write.

Pre-writing is the stage at which you are exploring your experiences and ideas, when you begin to come to terms with what your experiences mean, and when you start to think of how they might inform the essay you will soon begin to write.

The first, messiest, least demanding, but perhaps most important stage of pre-writing is brainstorming. Here’s a sample of five brainstorming techniques to get your mind moving and your words flowing as you start to plan your college essays:

1. “Who am I?” Answer This Question by Free Writing (1 minute)

Some college essays include remarkable personal experiences, moving imagery and metaphors, and transcendent moments of insight, but all college essays include words on a page. Start there.

There is a gap between your thoughts and the shape they take on the page. In order to gain clarity on what’s inside your head, it’s vital that you begin by externalizing those ideas—by making them into words on a page, by writing something.

Often, the gap between the mind and the page cripples students. Maybe you know inside that you have compelling, meaningful experiences and ideas to share, but you’re just not sure how to get them out in ink on paper.

Here is where free writing

Brainstorming – The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This handout discusses techniques that will help you start writing a paper and continue writing through the challenges of the revising process. Brainstorming can help you choose a topic, develop an approach to a topic, or deepen your understanding of the topic’s potential.

Introduction

If you consciously take advantage of your natural thinking processes by gathering your brain’s energies into a “storm,” you can transform these energies into written words or diagrams that will lead to lively, vibrant writing. Below you will find a brief discussion of what brainstorming is, why you might brainstorm, and suggestions for how you might brainstorm.

Whether you are starting with too much information or not enough, brainstorming can help you to put a new writing task in motion or revive a project that hasn’t reached completion. Let’s take a look at each case:

When you’ve got nothing: You might need a storm to approach when you feel “blank” about the topic, devoid of inspiration, full of anxiety about the topic, or just too tired to craft an orderly outline. In this case, brainstorming stirs up the dust, whips some air into our stilled pools of thought, and gets the breeze of inspiration moving again.

When you’ve got too much: There are times when you have too much chaos in your brain and need to bring in some conscious order. In this case, brainstorming forces the mental chaos and random thoughts to rain out onto the page, giving you some concrete words or schemas that you can then arrange according to their logical relations.

Brainstorming techniques

What follows are great ideas on how to brainstorm—ideas from professional writers, novice writers, people who would rather avoid writing, and people who spend a lot of time brainstorming about…well, how to brainstorm.

Try out several of these options and challenge yourself to vary the techniques you rely on; some techniques might suit a particular writer, academic discipline, or assignment better than others. If the technique you try first doesn’t seem to help you, move right along and try some others.

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Freewriting

4 Simple Brainstorming Techniques To Help Write Killer Content

Brainstorming is supposed to be about harnessing the power of thinking outside the box to solve that impossible problem. It’s the magic that helps you find amazing, unique ideas.

It’s not magic, of course, but when you’re desperate—possibly with writers block—magic sounds good. Brainstorming techniques are what you turn to when you’re stuck and don’t know what to do next.

They can be great tools because anyone—group or single person—can use them.

4 Reasons You Should Brainstorm If You Want To Become A Better Writer

But why go through the hassle of using brainstorming techniques at all? There are generally four reasons that people turn to brainstorming:

  1. You need ideas.
  2. You have a problem to solve.
  3. You are looking to improve creative thinking.
  4. You want your team to work together better.

The first two reasons get the lion’s share of the attention, but the last two, which lean toward extra-curricular exercises, are just as important. If you want to be ready during go-time for the first two, you’d better take a few practice swings at it using the last two.

Whether it’s just you or you’re a part of a team, make brainstorming and creative challenges a regular habit.

Brainstorming as a group

First, a caveat. It’s no secret that I’m wary of group brainstorming. That particular method of getting ideas has become a standard solution for teams trying to solve problems.

While it can sometimes create more problems than it solves by encouraging social loafing and rewarding some personalities over others, there are times when your team has to get together and come up with ideas. Brainstorming techniques are also good for helping teams learn to work together.

Brainstorming on your own

Brainstorming isn’t reserved for groups of people, though that’s how most of us think of it. There are times when you’re on your own and need to generate ideas and solve problems all the same.

As an artist and writer with deadlines, I’m most familiar with brainstorming on my own. In fact, I did a little solo brainstorming recently, for this very topic.

While trying to come up with an idea for my own blog post, I realized that it might be helpful to readers if I told them how I came up with ideas and got past creative blocks in my own work—14 ideas in all.

As I looked through those 14 brainstorming techniques, I began to see three basic approaches to brainstorming that I thought would be useful to you.

When you come to a roadblock, take a detour. —Mary Kay AshClick To Tweet

4 Brainstorming Techniques That Will Help You Write Creative Content

Brainstorming techniques can take a few basic approaches. Once you understand how they work, you can mix and match them for the best results.

1. Use associative brainstorming techniques to get unstuck

Chapter 5. Putting the Pieces Together with a Thesis Statement

Learning Objectives

  • Use prewriting strategies to choose a topic and narrow the focus

If you think that a blank sheet of paper or a blinking cursor on the computer screen is a scary sight, you are not alone.

Many writers, students, and employees find that beginning to write can be intimidating. When faced with a blank page, however, experienced writers remind themselves that writing, like other everyday activities, is a process.

Every process, from writing to cooking to bike riding to learning to use a new cell phone will get significantly easier with practice.

Just as you need a recipe, ingredients, and proper tools to cook a delicious meal, you also need a plan, resources, and adequate time to create a good written composition. In other words, writing is a process that requires steps and strategies to accomplish your goals.

These are the five steps in the writing process:

  • Prewriting
  • Outlining the structure of ideas
  • Writing a rough draft
  • Revising
  • Editing

Effective writing can be simply described as good ideas that are expressed well and arranged in the proper order. This chapter will give you the chance to work on all these important aspects of writing.

Although many more prewriting strategies exist, this chapter covers six: using experience and observations, freewriting, asking questions, brainstorming, mapping, and searching the Internet.

Using the strategies in this chapter can help you overcome the fear of the blank page and confidently begin the writing process.

Prewriting

  • Prewriting is the stage of the writing process during which you transfer your abstract thoughts into more concrete ideas in ink on paper (or in type on a computer screen). Although prewriting techniques can be helpful in all stages of the writing process, the following four strategies are best used when initially deciding on a topic:
  • Using experience and observations
  • Reading
  • Freewriting
  • Asking questions
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At this stage in the writing process, it is okay if you choose a general topic. Later you will learn more prewriting strategies that will narrow the focus of the topic.

Choosing a Topic

In addition to understanding that writing is a process, writers also understand that choosing a good general topic for an assignment is an essential step.

Sometimes your instructor will give you an idea to begin an assignment, and other times your instructor will ask you to come up with a topic on your own.

A good topic not only covers what an assignment will be about but also fits the assignment’s purpose and its audience.

In this chapter, you will follow a writer named Mariah as she prepares a piece of writing. You will also be planning one of your own.

The first important step is for you to tell yourself why you are writing (to inform, to explain, or some other purpose) and for whom you are writing.

Write your purpose and your audience on your own sheet of paper, and keep the paper close by as you read and complete exercises in this chapter.

My purpose: ____________________________________________

My audience: ____________________________________________

Using Experience and Observations

8 Tips for writing an excellent essay

Each teacher gives out homework, and at the end of the day, the students are overburdened. To lessen this burden order a paper from custom essay writing service and spend your time revising for your exams. Using professional essay writer can also save you from the unhealthy sleepless nights and embarrassing grades plus late submissions.

For students who have enough time, they claim to lack necessary skills to come up with a top-notch essay. They sometimes claim that writing is boring and they don’t even know where to begin. With this simple tips and tricks, you can successfully and confidently write your essay. Follow each step-by-step. Here are the tips:

Read the essay prompt carefully and understand the question

This is the most crucial stage in essay writing. Once you know the question asked you can be able to identify the type of essay. Highlight the keywords; ‘compare,’ ‘contrast’ ‘discuss,’ ‘explain’ ‘evaluate’ and identify any limiting words, e.g., during the 21st century, within Europe, etc.

Pick a topic

After getting an overview of the essay, you will be in a better position to choose a more relevant topic. Begin by brainstorming, sit down, be calm and start a free flow of thoughts and jot down ideas.

Narrow your focus and choose an interesting topic depending on the type of essay and purpose so you can create a top notch essay.

If you find it hard to come up with an essay topic, ask your teacher for assistance and you will get a topic which you will be required to defend with relevant sources.

Create an outline

Before you begin your writing, create your essay outline. Jot your topic in the middle of your page, draw lines branching from the topic and write main ideas at the end of each line. From the main ideas at the end of the lines draw more lines and include your thoughts.

Another option is to use a simple outline. Write your topic at the top of your page, separate your essay into introduction, body, and conclusion.

For a five paragraph essay, have an introduction, at least three main ideas, and a conclusion. Leave spaces under each idea to enable you to list smaller ideas supporting the main idea.

The ‘skeleton’ will enable you to write a more organized essay.

Sample outline:

Introduction paragraph

  • First sentence
  • Thesis statement

Body paragraph

  • Give statistics
  • Information on the subject
  • Research on the topic
  • Relevant data if any

Conclusion paragraph

  • Restate your thesis statement
  • Support arguments
  • write a call to action

Write your essay: Create a thesis statement

You already have a topic and the paper outline it is time to start the writing. Begin by creating a thesis statement which must tell your reader the purpose of your essay. Read through your outline to help you create an appropriate thesis.

Your thesis statement must state the topic and the main argument of your essay. The single statement must carry the overall response to the problem.

Put your thesis statement in your first paragraph then make sure you refer to it several times within the essay then restate it in your conclusion.

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