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Try out several of these options and challenge yourself to vary the techniques you rely on; some techniques might suit a particular writer, academic discipline, or assignment better than others.
If you can’t think of what to say, you write that down—really.
The advantage of this technique is that you free up your internal critic and allow yourself to write things you might not write if you were being too self-conscious.
Do any of the responses suggest anything new about your topic? That is, do you see patterns repeating, or a theme emerging that you could use to approach the topic or draft a thesis?
Does one side seem particularly fruitful in getting your brain moving?
In this case, brainstorming forces the mental chaos and random thoughts to rain out onto the page, giving you some concrete words or schemas that you can then arrange according to their logical relations.
What follows are great ideas on how to brainstorm—ideas from professional writers, novice writers, people who would rather avoid writing, and people who spend a lot of time brainstorming about…well, how to brainstorm.
The second list might be based on the opposite claim, and you would instead jot down inventions that you associate with a decline in that society’s quality.
You could do the same two lists for 19th-century inventions and then compare the evidence from all four lists.
If you consciously take advantage of your natural thinking processes by gathering your brain’s energies into a “storm,” you can transform these energies into written words or diagrams that will lead to lively, vibrant writing.
Below you will find a brief discussion of what brainstorming is, why you might brainstorm, and suggestions for how you might brainstorm.