“whoosh” I hear a sound- a lovely children’s book first reader*, not the sound of your brain exploding at the thought of writing an essay- though we do say “brainstorm” for a reason.
The more ideas you put down on the paper (or type into the computer) the better chance you have to clearly focus an essay. And focus is key to composing a clear thesis.
Whether you prefer a Tbar or a mind map or a series of doodles, please remember we can’t comment on a blank page, and as students, one learns from the teacher’s comments. So please do get something onto the paper– and then begin: 1) do I need to research this? 2) is it in keeping with the class assignment? 3) can I find enough information from in-class readings to support my points? 4) why am I interested in this topic? and 5) write as much as possible for a few minutes without researching to determine if you do have points to make- these free style paragraphs later offer insight into where you thought you were headed with the essay and help you when you need to respond to exam questions or formal tests- writing is an action and in the doing, fear about “making a mistake” can be alleviated – simply seeing the words on the page may help one to begin the process of eliminating extraneous material and zeroing in on that important focus which will establish the essay topic.
So… please let the sounds appear in print; clear the brain by depositing the words onto a page, and recognize that revisions, organizational structure (read- outline) and basic housekeeping (grammar, punctuation, citing sources etc.) are Step 3- they come later- more about Step 2 in tomorrow’s entry.
an all time favorite if you have a little one