Step 1: Get Specific about the Purpose of the Brainstorm:
- What is my goal in writing this piece?
- What question do I want to answer?
- What do I want to say to the reader?
- What do I want the reader to know/know how to do when he is done reading?
- What is the problem I want to solve?
- Am I writing in response to what I’ve read or writing from the ground up?
Step 2: Give the Brainstorm Structure
- Given what I know about this topic, which of the following brainstorming structures will best organize my ideas?
- How will I use this data and ideas in my writing?
Brainstorming structures for informational text writing:
- Free-write ideas
- Listing: bulleted words or phrases specific to the content
- Leveling: list of things related to the big picture and sub-topics
Step 3: Set a timer (typically 3-8 minutes) and start writing all of your ideas, thoughts and insights down.
- Write everything down
- Avoid worrying about spelling, penmanship or grammar
- Remember that you will have the opportunity to judge, connect, throw out ideas later so avoid judgment or self-consciousness about ideas
- If you get stuck, talk to someone or peek on their brainstorm to jump-start your ideas
- Stop periodically and re-read your brainstorm list to jump-start new ideas
- If you get stuck, ask yourself, “What am I curious about [about the topic or argument]?”