Below you will find explanations of three specific methods for brainstorming* ideas—freewriting, looping, and clustering.
Freewriting is a technique that every writer should have in his or her toolkit as he or she plans to write. The process lets you just begin writing without feeling like the writing you do at that moment needs to be effective, meaningful, or even good. Even though you’re not creating finished writing, freewriting allows you to do the important work of exploring your topic and your interests without worrying about creating a polished product. It’s simply a way to get thoughts down on paper.
As you freewrite, you choose a topic, set a time limit, and see where the topic leads you. The most important part of freewriting is to make sure that you turn your editorial mind off. Spelling and grammar don’t matter, and you don’t have to worry about writing a coherent piece with an introduction and a conclusion.
After you’re done freewriting, you’ll read over your writing again and find the parts that can be expanded upon or that hold your interest the most.
Remember that a freewrite is not a draft—it is part of the prewriting stage. In most cases, you won’t use a single phrase from your freewrite in any writing that you turn in. Writing that you turn in should be polished and focused; freewrites work best when they aren’t!
Now, read two examples of freewriting below:
Feeding America’s poor won’t be easy. Not with one out of seven of us living at the poverty level. It’s especially bad for kids. I mean, how can a kid concentrate on learning when he hasn’t eaten in two days? When you think about how much food goes to waste every single day in this country, you’d think there wouldn’t be a problem. Just think about the food fights that go on in cafeterias all over the country. With that wasted food alone we could probably feed all the poor people. And I know a lot of people let vegetables sit in their refrigerators until they rot and then they have to throw out all that food. Also, just think about all the restaurants that throw away food every single day. You’ve probably seen homeless people doing “dumpster digs.” I know I have. At least, they are getting some nourishment out of what’s being discarded, but who’d want to eat food that’s mixed with garbage? I think we should have more public service announcements to make people aware of what they are wasting. That would be a first step. Maybe parents could also be advised not to put so much food on their kids’ plates at suppertime. That would solve two problems–the food waste problem and the obesity problem. Then, we could use the money that is saved to help the hungry more than we do. It’s true that some celebrities like Sandra Lee have started a campaign, but not everybody watches her on the food network channel. I guess we need more celebrities getting the word out. I know the President and First Lady are working on this and that’s helping a lot. But there’s really a lot to do. There are food banks, of course. But we really need more than famous people getting the word out. We need the average Joe thinking twice about waste.
Do I stay on topic in most of the writing, or do I shift to another topic? Am I more interested in my initial or my new topic? ANSWER: I really did focus on the poor and how much food-waste there is in this country. I also talked about what famous people and ordinary people can do to solve the problem of people going hungry.
What words are repeated in my writing? ANSWER: “Poor” (poverty), “food,” “waste,” “celebrities.”
Which of my ideas can be backed up with research during the subsequent research process? ANSWER: There has to be a lot of data about poverty in America and also wasted food. I could also learn more about Sandra Lee and what people like her are doing to help.
Can I identify one or two questions that most of my freewrite responds to? ANSWER: What are celebrities doing to help the poor? What can the average person do?
Topic: Feeding the hungry
Research Question: What are the characteristics of an effective anti-hunger program?
Looping refers to freewriting sessions performed in succession. The purpose of looping is to take the ideas you discover in your freewriting session that seem most worthy of exploration and freewrite again on those ideas. The process allows you to refine your topic into a more narrow and realistic topic.
To loop your idea, take the idea that emerged as most important in your initial freewrite and do another freewrite—following the freewriting instruction stepspreviously outlined—with that idea as your starting point.
Remember that the most important part of freewriting is reflecting on your writing. So, after your loop, be sure to ask yourself the same refle
note: please read the Reading: Brainstorming Ideas first before doing the assignment: also pleased to assignment according to an answer each question correctly thanks. My field or degree that I am currently pursuing is management, Logistice, and transportation.
Now that you’ve spent some time writing down some potential problems for your project, it’s time to narrow the focus. Reviewing your brainstorming activity, select two potential problems that 1) have two logical sides to the issue (your viewpoint and an opposing viewpoint), 2) are researchable, and 3) are related to your career or degree.
In your journal, write a fully developed paragraph for each problem (5-8 sentences each) explaining two sides to the issue (how is it argumentative?), how you plan to approach it in your project (what side are you going to take?), and why you’re personally interested in it (of all the potential problems in your field or degree, why did you choose this?).
When writing the paragraphs, feel free to express any other thoughts or concerns you may have about the topic choices.
After exploring the argumentativeness of your problems, take a moment to consider the bigger picture. Then, in one to two paragraphs, briefly reflect on the importance of persuasion with the potential topic you’re most likely to write about. Why is it important that people consider your side with your selected topic? Who is your audience, and why is it important to convince them that your view on your topic is the better (or more correct) view? Remember to try to be specific in your entry: this information will help guide you as you work on your project in the coming weeks.
Use the following checklist to make sure that you are covering all of the key points mentioned above:
In the first paragraph (5-8 sentences), explain:
In the second paragraph (5-8 sentences), explain:
In the third and fourth paragraphs (5-8 sentences each), reflect on:
As you work on the journal, remember to refer to the assignment guidelines and rubric (click here) to make sure you’re fulfilling each critical element. You can also download/print the rubric.
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