What Is Brainstorming?

Video Lesson on What Is Brainstorming?

Have you ever gone to the store knowing that there were some things that you probably really needed, but then ended up wandering the aisles, picking up things at random? If you've ever wound up coming back home from a shopping trip like that - having bought a marshmallow gun and one of those wearable blankets, but without the basic things you actually needed, like bread and toothpaste - then you probably have a sense of why it's important to think ahead and come up with a list of ideas before doing something that requires organization.

Writing an essay without doing a little brainstorming first would be like going on a shopping trip and wandering around aimlessly, without taking some time first to make a list and get a sense of what you needed. Sure, marshmallow guns can be fun, but whether you're shopping or writing, it's generally a good idea to think about what you actually need first.

Why Brainstorming is Important

Given the importance of the quality of ideas in graded essays, it makes a lot of sense to spend a bit of time brainstorming before you start writing a paper. Brainstorming is the process whereby writers come up with ideas to write about.

For some of us, when we're assigned an essay, the thought of brainstorming and prewriting might just seem like more work. We might ask ourselves: why should we give ourselves any additional tasks to do when we already have a huge paper staring us in the face?

No matter how good a writer you are, though, the most important element of an essay that you write - whether it's a term paper for class or a timed essay exam - is the content of your paper. In other words, the information and ideas presented in an essay. You may have a real way with words, and you may have all of your grammar rules down cold, but if you don't present good, well-organized ideas in your paper, you'll lose out on a lot of points.

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