5 Ways to Generate Original Ideas for Essays You Probably Never Thought Of

When instructors hand out open ended writing assignments, many students find it difficult to select topics. The trouble often comes from having to meet the assignments requirements, fitting the coursework, and being interesting to the student. Brainstorm on your own can be highly effective but only if you are comfortable with the creative process and can afford to spend lots of time developing ideas and eliminating the ones that aren’t promising. Assuming you don’t have a lot of time to spare, we’ve come up with five ways to generate original ideas for essays that you probably have never thought of. Here’s what you should consider trying:

Learn How To Generate Ideas

Develop a Mind Map

Students who have developed good brainstorming techniques often turn to mind mapping to develop ideas on the fly and in a short time. It’s a simple strategy that asks you to start with a basic topic and to systematically branch out to a number of sub-topics worth researching and discussing. Ideas may take the form of complete sentences, phrases or questions, whichever gets your creativity flowing. This system which effectively narrows your focus also helps in developing a draft thesis statement, which could come in handy if you decide to use any one of the ideas generated through this exercise.

Work in a Group Session

As is the case for many students, sometimes it’s just too hard to come up with ideas on your own, but it’s tremendously simple when discussing topics with a group of fellow students or friends. Don’t shy away from starting a group session with other people to bounce some ideas off one another. Ask questions and encourage others to talk about the things that interested them the most and the things they are most comfortable with telling others about. This critical exercise should benefit everyone involved and make it pretty easy for you to walk away with some great paper options.

Develop a List of Topics

This is actually pretty simple but you would be surprised at how few students give this a try. You don’t have to generate an essay topic list overnight; you can take this approach over the course of your semester and therefore have several options available to you when you finally have to select a topic for your essay assignment. In a notebook, write down any ideas that come up after class lectures, reading assignments, and more. By the time your essay assignment comes up you should have anywhere between 6 to 8 good ideas that you can use.

Pay Attention to the News

A really good way of generating topic ideas is to digest the information that is present around you every day. Read, listen, and watch what others have to say about topics that may connect in some way with the ones you have covered in your class. This can be trickier in some disciplines which don’t always connect with what is being discussed in the present news, but this shouldn’t stop you from trying this out creative exercise to get your thoughts flowing in the right direction.

Practice Writing Exercises

Lastly, even if you don’t have a good idea of what it is you want to write about, you can quickly come up with some great topics by spending time doing any of a number of writing exercises. This is all content that won’t be submitted to the instructor, so you don’t have to worry about the quality of writing. You should simply sit down and start scribbling anything that pops into your head related to the course. Think creatively. Mix keywords or concepts and allow your mind to go in different directions.

What To Write About


Here are some ideas that can be helpful for students who want to write solid essays on any topic.

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