How to Brainstorm Ideas for Your Next Essay: The 4 Essential Steps

Writing an essay is a process which includes several different phases. There’s the preparation phase, the writing phase, and the polishing phase. Each of the phases contains several different steps, each serving a meaningful purpose. However, the one step you should always include in the essay writing process is the brainstorming.

Brainstorming is supposed to be the very first step you make once you decide to write your essay. Although many people feel like there’s not much to this process, the truth is many people don’t know how to perform it properly.

If you’re interested in learning how to brainstorm like a pro, just keep reading. Here are the 4 steps in brainstorming you have to master.

source: Pixabay


  • Define the Purpose


It may sound like you’re starting from the ending, but you need to have something to aim for before your brainstorming session begins.

Therefore, you need to define the end goal of your essay.

  • What is the purpose of the essay?
  • How do I want the readers to feel?
  • What message do I want to send them?

Find answers to the above questions and you’ll have a clearly defined vision for your essay. That means you can move on the next step of brainstorming.


  • Write it Down


Now it’s time for some new ideas.

Focus on your end goal and what you previously defined as the purpose of your essay. With that in mind, start thinking about what you could write in your essay.

Make sure to:

  • have a pen and paper prepared
  • have nothing to distract you (such as noise or other people)
  • write down every single idea which comes to your mind
  • avoid analyzing the ideas- just write them down and move on the next one

Once you feel like there are no more ideas you could write down, you can put your pencil down.

Take a short break before you move on to the next step. This way, you’ll let your brain rest from the chaotic creative outpour and prepare itself for a more detailed step.


  • Revising the Ideas


The following step is about using the ideas which came out as the result of the previous one.

Take the paper with all your ideas and start revising each of them.

Think about each idea in terms of:

  • adding value to the essay
  • helping you reach the essay’s goal
  • being interesting to the reader

Choose those ideas you feel would be best for the overall quality of your essay and write them down on a separate piece of paper.


  • Outlining the Essay


Now that you’ve got the best ideas in front of you, it’s time to arrange them and create the first outline of your essay.

The best way to do this is to make a visual representation of your ideas. You can draw each of them in a circle and leave room for notes on the sides.

This way you’ll be able to pick an idea, find a place for it in the outline and cross it over from the circle. You’ll have your outline ready and you can move on to writing your essay.

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Brainstorming helps you come up with brilliant essay ideas. It also makes the outlining process more productive and easier.

Therefore, use the advice given above and ensure each of your brainstorming sessions is a success.

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