In the first blank put one of the terms or concepts your paper centers on.Then try to brainstorm as many answers as possible for the second blank, writing them down as you come up with them. The general idea: This technique has three (or more) different names, according to how you describe the activity itself or what the end product looks like.
The second list might be based on the opposite claim, and you would instead jot down inventions that you associate with a decline in that society’s quality.
You could do the same two lists for 19th-century inventions and then compare the evidence from all four lists.
When you freewrite, you let your thoughts flow as they will, putting pen to paper and writing down whatever comes into your mind.
You don’t judge the quality of what you write and you don’t worry about style or any surface-level issues, like spelling, grammar, or punctuation.
When you find these gems, highlight them or cut and paste them into your draft or onto an “ideas” sheet so you can use them in your paper.
Even if you don’t find any diamonds in there, you will have either quieted some of the noisy chaos or greased the writing gears so that you can now face the assigned paper topic.
The crucial point is that you keep on writing even if you believe you are saying nothing. Your freewriting might even look like this: “This paper is supposed to be on the politics of tobacco production but even though I went to all the lectures and read the book I can’t think of what to say and I’ve felt this way for four minutes now and I have 11 minutes left and I wonder if I’ll keep thinking nothing during every minute but I’m not sure if it matters that I am babbling and I don’t know what else to say about this topic and it is rainy today and I never noticed the number of cracks in that wall before and those cracks remind me of the walls in my grandfather’s study and he smoked and he farmed and I wonder why he didn’t farm tobacco…” When you’re done with your set number of minutes or have reached your page goal, read back over the text.
Yes, there will be a lot of filler and unusable thoughts but there also will be little gems, discoveries, and insights.
In this case, brainstorming stirs up the dust, whips some air into our stilled pools of thought, and gets the breeze of inspiration moving again.
When you’ve got too much: There are times when you have too much chaos in your brain and need to bring in some conscious order.