Writers, students, and anyone else will occasionally need an idea or two. While there may be times when ideas come to you with little or no effort, there will be times when the wellspring of creativity seems to have dried up. Don’t be afraid, though. Even if you’re not feeling particularly creative, you can still think and reason. If you think clearly and use the following techniques, you will find endless ideas.

free writing – Only write. Don’t worry about the format, theme, or anything else. Just write, about anything. It could be a description of your kitchen ceiling or a tirade about the lack of parking spaces at your local vet’s office. The important thing is that you start writing, and keep writing. Let one thought lead to another, or just write about one thing, in increasing detail. Maybe you write for a set period of time, or maybe your goal is to fill a page or pages. Choose individual themes, ideas, names or anything else. Whatever you do, you’ll soon have plenty of ideas to work with.

Breakdown – Take your initial theme and write it at the top of the page. Divide the topic into subtopics, questions, topics, etc., and list them below. Continue breaking down and listing those subtopics as before.

Listing/Newsletter – List everything about the topic, then list any related phrases, keywords, questions, sources, etc. If it occurs to you, add it to the list. Then take each item in the list and do it again.

cubage – Cubing refers to taking your subject and examining it from six different sides, like all six sides of a cube. Consider the issue in the following six ways:

  1. Describe it
  2. compare it
  3. associate it
  4. analyze it
  5. apply it
  6. Argue for and against

Now check your answers. Is there any connection between them? Does a theme come up?

Similar – Complete the following award: [Blank] is/was/are/were like [Blank]. By comparing your topic with another seemingly unrelated word, you will begin to see new insights into your topic, better understand different aspects of it, and new ideas will emerge.

Grouping/Mapping/Straps – This technique allows you to expand a topic in a free and organic way. Write a keyword or words about your topic in the center of a blank page and draw a circle or box around it. Break into as many ideas as possible, visually connecting them to the theme. Then branch off from there. Go as far as you can or want, forking continuously.

Units – Observe the relationships between the whole, the parts and the parts of the parts. Make the following lists on opposite sides of a sheet of paper:


Part………………………………..Parts of Parts

Part………………………………..Parts of Parts

Part………………………………..Parts of Parts

Apply these tags to topics and subtopics, words, etc. Then draw conclusions about relationships, patterns, connections, etc.

Journalistic Questions (The Big 6) – Ask yourself the 6 important questions of journalism:

  1. Who
  2. What
  3. When
  4. Where
  5. why
  6. How

Make a list of related questions for each one, then look up the answers; repeat as many times as you need.

Outside the Box – Try approaching your topic from a totally different angle. Ask questions from a seemingly unrelated point of view. You can think in terms of occupations, academic subjects, demographic groups, cultural groups, etc. Examine it in its entirety from each new perspective, writing down every thought, question, comment, interpretation, etc.

Graphics/Shapes – Instead of words and phrases, think visually. Put things in terms of graphs, shapes, charts, and diagrams. If you can find photos related to the topic, use those too. Make a list of everything you see, any thoughts that come to mind, and any conclusions drawn from the images.

Tilt/Re-tilt – Examine an idea or topic in terms of purpose and audience. If you’re stuck, think of a different purpose or a different audience. For example, if you are writing about married couples for the purpose of entertaining couples who have been married for at least five years, try looking at the theme of newlyweds.

Reference – If you have a basic idea or a theme, look it up. Go to the dictionary, the thesaurus, the encyclopedia, an almanac, a citation collection, any other reference. Please list any information. If you don’t have a theme, open a random page, choose any theme, and continue from there.

Combination of Techniques – Start with any technique and then apply another technique to the results. For example, after listing and bulleting in your original topic, try to reference each item in the list.

Once you have used these techniques, you should have a list of the ideas produced. These ideas must then be organized in some way. You can start by listing them neatly and then categorizing them. Group them according to subtopics, put them in an outline, or try to sequence them in some way. The idea is simply to impose some kind of order on the disorganized results, giving you a clear collection of ideas to work with. Now armed with these ideas and some related information, you’ll have a better idea of ​​what to work on in your writing.

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