July 12th, 2011

Light That Fire!

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Come on, baby, light that fire!

(I mean the fire of inspiration of course!  What did you think I meant?  Get your mind out of the gutter, please!)

The first step in any writing project is to generate the idea behind the project.  Unfortunately, it’s on that very first step that so many of us stumble.  You’re asked to write a paper and the subject of that paper is left totally up to you.  So you have a complete blank…what do you do?

You brainstorm, that’s what you do!

Uh…what does that mean?

People brainstorm in all kinds of interesting ways. Sometimes the process is formalized, with a set of half-a-dozen or so people locked in a room until they come up with at least one clever idea.  (Generally, if this is your preferred style, you’ll want to arrange your committe to be fed Krispy Kremes and caffeine-spiked Jolt Cola to get their mental juices flowing.  I’m just saying…)

If you don’t want to go that route, or don’t have a half-dozen friends (how sad!), you can use my preferred path:  I ask my kitty for help.

Tinkerbell (my Tonkinese cat) is much smarter than I am–after all, she manages to get exactly what she wants whenever she wants it with very little effort on her part.

Anyway, I have found that when I explain my problem to her, the process of explaining it to her generally results in things becoming clearer to me.

But even if you don’t have friends, and aren’t lucky enough to have a super-smart cat, there are still techniques you can use to brainstorm a bunch of new ideas for your paper.  Want some help with that?


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