The University Writing Center (UWC)

Prewriting

Prewriting is important because it helps generate ideas for writing. However, the main purpose of the prewriting stage is to find a focus for the essay. Finding a focus allows the topic to be narrow and, hopefully, clear. This should help a writer develop appropriate supporting ideas.
 
Below are several prewriting methods and their benefits:
 

Method
Process
Benefit
Fast-Write
Writing, non-stop, for a specific amount of time
Generating ideas without worrying about grammar
List
Writing keywords or key-phrases
Excellent for jotting down words and phrases related to the topic
Outline
Organizing phrases and words in a specific order
Excellent for organization and developing sub-topics
Brainstorming
Writing several problems and solutions without discarding any
Creative thinking and developing ideas to solve problems
Visualization
Engaging your imagination and each sense while drawing, sketching, etc.
Excellent for a visualized picture of the work as a whole; it brings the text to life
Webbing/
mapping/
clustering
Placing the subject in the center of a page and as ideas come to mind, linking them to the center; new ideas will link to related circles/squares
Excellent for exploring many ideas as soon as they occur