Practice with prewriting strategies

Take an hour or so to try out some of these strategies. You may use a computer or pen and paper. Try something new! If you usually write long-hand, try typing on the keyboard. Or vice versa. Look at some of those graphic organizer sites. Then report in the discussion board below about your experiences:  which techniques seemed to work best for you? did you generate anything you liked, which might be the germ of something more? Feel free to share your favorite(s)!

Regular writing sites

Look over samples, read writer’s guidelines, and do a couple of each. (You might even want to submit or join!)


Go to or some other photo-sharing site. Or check out Google’s Art Project, or the website of a museum you’d like to visit.. Pick a word and search through the photos for one that interests you. Try colors (blue, maroon), emotions, abstractions (independence, silence), types of food, family relationships, whatever. Write down a memory that the picture evokes, the imagined thoughts of a person in the picture, a string of images that the picture brings to your mind, …

Nonfiction sites

Browse through the archives at Brevity or This I Believe. Look for a title that intrigues you and write your own post based on that title (or a variation of it). Make a list of memires that come to mind as you browse through these short pieces.

Graphic organizers

Play around with one or more of the following:

Try mapping a difficult decision you have made, or the stages that you went through in some learning process.


Try browsing through your iPod library (or other music collecitons). Write down the memories or images that come to mind. List the songs that have been meaningfulto you through the years.


Make a list of the significant objects in your life or the people who have taught you something. Make a list of the places that have been important to you throughout your life. Make a list of your endings and beginnings.

Other resources/inspiration:

Capital Commuity College Foundation’s Guide to Grammar and Writing has some good pages on various prewriting strategies:

And from the Rhetoric and Composition wiki, here’s some info on strategies for Generating ideas.