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Brainstorming Techniques - Brainstorming Ideas - Brainstorming Tools : Finding Topics To Write About

Updated on August 5, 2009

I've taken many english and writing courses. I am always writing papers and am confident that at this point, I could probably write about any topic that you throw at me. However, I used to struggle with this commonly known dilemma faced by millions of students. So how do you write about any topic?

Well, step number one is that you brainstorm. You can always find a topic within a topic that interests you. Always.

Let me elaborate.

The most difficult scenario that I have ever faced in regards to writing about a particular topic consisted of two major challenges. First off, I was required to pick a topic to write about within the confines of the environment. Secondly, after I chose my environmental topic, I was required to write 6 term papers throughout the semester, on the same topic. No changing topics! I felt like I was in a nightmare.

I care about the environment. I do. But I'm not exactly savvy when it comes to the “go green” culture.

Anyways, for my topic, I ended up with global warming. At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about global warming and didn't think it was that much of a pressing issue (this was several years ago).

After choosing a topic that I didn't know much about, I was now locked in to write 6 different papers on it. Panic starts to set in. How am I supposed to write 6 different papers about the (sort of boring) topic of global warming?

I brainstormed.

I opened up my trusty word processor and forced myself to type constant, random thoughts about the topic for 10 minutes straight. No stopping! At the end of the session, my screen might have looked something like this:

global warming.


beginners guide

causes and effects



political pressure



really hot and really cold extremes

al gore

president bush

kyoto protocol

the planet, the sun

going green

reusable shopping bags


Obviously after 10 minutes of constant typing my list was much longer and a lot of my random thoughts didn't provide much. But from this list alone, I can easily find 6 topics that interest me. For instance, I can write a “beginner's guide” to global warming for an audience that knows very little about the topic. I can do a paper on the causes and the effects. I can research myths and truths and do a comparison and contrast of the two viewpoints. I can write about the political pressure that governments face to get involved with the 'war on global warming'. I can write about the Kyoto protocol and lastly, I can write about recycling and how consumers can reduce their impact on carbon gases.

Now I have to brainstorm again within each of these sub-topics to further develop my six “mini-topics”. I'll provide one more brainstorming example.

“ How to Recycle and Conserve

-reuseable shopping bags

-sorting plastic and bottles

-use those cfl lightbulbs.

-drive a hybrid

-plant some trees

-walk and bike more. drive less. “

Now, I'm ready to write my paper on global warming and how individuals can recycle and conserve to help reduce global warming's effect. From this sub-list of my topic, I can easily write a paragraph on each idea and if necessary, combine a few of them together. One paper down, five more to go. I had this assignment several years ago but just posted one of the papers online, if you'd like to read it, here is the link: What Your Household Can Do to Help Slow Down Global Warming.

So as you can see, you can write about any topic, even if it doesn't interest you that much. It is not an impossible task! Just make sure to research and write about an element within your topic that you find even somewhat partially interesting. You'll get through it and come out a much better and more informed writer.


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    • Abbyfitz profile image

      Abbyfitz 5 years ago from Florida

      Wow. This is a great idea. I'm going to start trying this method out!

    • Abbyfitz profile image

      Abbyfitz 5 years ago from Florida

      Wow. This is a great idea. I'm going to start trying this method out!

    • profile image

      dhang 5 years ago

      brainstorming is a great technique :) thank you for giving this idea ..

    • amithak50 profile image

      amithak50 5 years ago from India

      Brainstorming is very much required as sometimes we run out of ideas,so we have to take care of it ..Thanks for the nice info

    • Klena profile image

      Klena 7 years ago from England

      What an excellent idea. I tend to write as the feeling comes to me, but I always feel like I miss something out. This seems like an excellent way to let things flow but also ensure high quality.

      An informative wonderful hub, thank you for writing it! :)

    • LeanMan profile image

      Tony 7 years ago from At the Gemba

      My brain seems to be in a typhoon some days, this is by far the best way to start getting ideas.. sometimes stopping them is harder..

    • MrSpock profile image

      MrSpock 7 years ago

      I tend to brainstorm a lot. Some days there's just too many ideas, other days it's like a drought. This is a neat technique.

    • martycraigs profile image

      martycraigs 7 years ago

      Stream of consciousness brainstorming is a really great way to get your initial ideas down on paper. This is basically what you describe above. Thanks for sharing this. Sometimes I forget to just get my thoughts down at the start of a project. That initial wall can be pretty high sometimes.

    • Dheeraji profile image

      Dheeraji 8 years ago from Leicestershire

      Some great information here that I can adopt to help my writing an article, very good methods

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S 8 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      Yes, This is a great way of writing. Thanks for sharing.

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image

      GeneriqueMedia 8 years ago from Earth

      Great article.

      And as Peter Dickinson pointed out with his last link, I like to use Mind Mapping. Generally if I get waaay stumped I'll resort to this tool. Most of my creativity occurs at night, though, in between video games and television.


    • brad4l profile image

      brad4l 8 years ago from USA

      I think brainstorming is a very important step in the writing process, although it is oft overlooked. I often simply jump in and start writing, without actually brainstorming on paper, but I typically do a good deal of mental brainstorming first.

      However, when it is a topic I am unfamiliar with, I like to spend some time jotting down ideas, which really makes writing the article much easier and go much quicker.

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

      Thank you. I liked the hub and admit it was the method I used to use and slip back to sometimes. The very best discovery for me was mindmapping. I just checked for hubs and found three I thought you might like to read.

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 8 years ago from Cape Town

      I always get the kids in my class to brainstorm, definitely helps to channel thoughts and ideas

    • girly_girl09 profile image

      girly_girl09 8 years ago from United States

      You're very welcome! I've been using it forever so I thought I'd share. It really does help.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      That's a great method - thanks!