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Writing Projects » Stages of Writing » Getting Started » Categories and Clusters

If you have a lot of ideas, or your ideas are all mixed up, it can be difficult to begin your writing project. Putting your ideas into categories can often help.

The first step is to simply write down as many ideas as you can. You might already have a bunch of ideas from freewriting or making a list or taking notes from class or during research. If so, get any ideas you have gathered in front of you and move to step two. If you haven't gathered ideas yet, you can use the box below. Write down your overall topic, then write anything that pops into your mind about it. You don't need to write in sentences; just write down short ideas.

Everyone has a different way of gathering ideas. If you didn't find making categories helpful, or if you feel you still have work to do before writing a first draft, follow one of the links below to another pre-writing activity:

If you feel you have generated enough ideas and are ready to begin drafting, we have some tips for writing the first draft and a place to write it.

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