Monday, May 25, 2015

Brainstorming Advice from Hayden

Many times during my appointments as a tutor in the Writing Center, I will have students say, “I’m not sure where to start,” or “I have a lot of ideas, but I don’t know how to begin my paper.” I know for a fact my fellow tutors and I have this issue almost every time we sit down to write; our heads are so filled with ideas that the thought of putting them down on paper (or a blank Word document) is daunting. Whether you’re faced with a short summary and response assignment or find yourself starting a 25-page Capstone paper, I always find it best to sit down and write. This sounds extremely simple and vague, but I mean what I say. Those that come to me with trouble starting a writing assignment, I hand them a sheet of paper and I say, “Write down anything that comes to mind on the subject.”

This technique will work wonders, as it does for me. And the great thing about it is that sheet of paper doesn’t have to be turned in; you can write without restrictions, without thinking about guidelines and rules. To be able to develop a well-written and concise piece of writing, you have to start with unrestricted writing. This allows you to get your ideas out in the open and on paper while figuring out what you’re really trying to say. Sometimes, the jumbled mess of ideas in our mind needs to be fleshed out on paper!

Pre-writing, brainstorming, and discussion are important steps in the writing process. It is impossible to open a Word document and expect to write the perfect paper without properly tending to the early writing phases. The Kansas University Writing Center offers great tips on the pre-writing phase at this link.
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