Brainstorming techniques

Brainstorming is simply when you stop to think about the topic you will be writing about, then write down each idea or though that comes to mind. When writing your essay you must be deliberate with the way you roll out information. However, before you even begin that first draft, the time in which you’re gathering your thoughts, you should write or type as quickly as possible to jot down each thought that comes to mind.

To brainstorm when writing an essay there several ways you can approach the brainstorming process depending on which you feel will be more beneficial for you.

Gather a lot of information about your topic. see: Prewriting Strategies   see: The Writing Process
Before attempting to write an essay, you need to have something to write about. Carefully do all of the
Assigned Reading - The discussion\lecture for this assignment. Use any of the prewriting strategies explained in the presentations & documents. Get lots of ideas, examples, etc... Think on paper; the more you brainstorm, the more you will have to write about. Although you may use your own method of Brainstorming, it is strongly recommended that you use a Clustering technique or brainstorming. Brainstorm ideas\facts\thoughts\narratives\etc. can be stated in complete sentences, phrases, or paragraphs.

Stay focused on your topic.

Stay Organized
If the idea of throwing your thoughts onto paper makes you cringe or draw a blank mind- don’t worry. There are a few more “orderly” ways that you can brainstorm- using a diagram can help you quickly gather your thoughts but also keep them organized at the same time. Here are two diagrams commonly used when brainstorming:


  • Should have several (usually 3) smaller subtopic that encompasses a complete exploration of your topic to the best of your knowledge

  • Should be copiously done and thoroughly uncover as many aspects of the topic as possible.

    How its done:

  • Break the topic into smaller sub-topics, or units of thought.
  • Brainstorm on each sub-topic
  • Fill each sub-topic with lots of information, keep writing, think of anything that may conmtribute towards your complete understanding of your sub-topic.

    Grab a pen and paper or your computer and start writing. Any key words or sentences that pop into your mind you should add to your paper. This process might get messy but it’s an effective way to quickly gather your thoughts without the pressure of creating an actual draft.

My Topic:  "going to the movies" 
sub-topic -
the theater itself
sub-topic - getting to the theater
sub-topic - annoying patrons
the theater itself
carpets often smell from dripped food,  worn out seats that are not always stable to sit on,  some seats do not have adequate cushion support, small screens for large number of viewers,  noise leaking from next theater, sticky floors that get worse
endless advertisements,  never start on time
getting to the theater
bad weather could occur
long waits for tickets
tickets are expensive
limited parking
parking can be a hassle
inexperienced theater personnel
possibility of traffic
annoying patrons
bad behavior such as unruly children,  people often get up and down to use the rest room,  noise from chatting, cell phones, people eating

* when brainstorming set a time limit, and write anything - phrases, complete sentences, random thoughts about the sub-topic - pictures, feelings, impressions, dialogues, anything....


After you have brainstormed it’s then time to turn your thoughts into your essay. Read through your thoughts and establish where each will fit within your essay. Your essay should include the following parts:

  • Introduction
  • 1st body (strongest support)
  • 2nd body
  • 3rd body
  • Conclusion

Your brainstorming session then allows you to create an outline using each thought you want to convey in your essay