Finding a topic isn’t always easy. There are many strategies for coming up with ideas based on a particular subject—brainstorming, freewriting, and mapping are all great ways to think of ideas for an essay.
Brainstorming involves listing everything that comes to mind when you think about your topic: impressions, emotions, reactions, and facts. Freewriting is when you write nonstop for a specific period of time, letting your mind run free. Mapping (or clustering) is a more visual way to discover ideas and relationships.
But where do you start? Sure, a topic can be “anything.” The world of “anything” can be an overwhelming abyss, though.
To get you started, Michael Gonchar has put together some terrific prompts. Through the Learning Network, you can access “301 Prompts for Argumentative Writing” and “500 Prompts for Narrative or Personal Writing.”
Each prompt is a question. The question can be used as a starting point for brainstorming, freewriting, or mapping. You can use your answer to develop more specific ideas for writing.
So, when you are told to pick your own topic or you are just looking for some ideas for your writing, you can scan these thorough lists for some inspiration. Lux Writing Center can also help you come up with writing projects and provide individualized instruction.