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Stages of Writing » Getting Started » Categories and Clusters, Step 2

Take a look at the ideas you have gathered and see if they could fit into some general categories. Use one of the boxes below for each category. Write down a category at the top of a box, then put whatever ideas fit under that category heading. When you are all done, click the button below and you will have made a good start towards organizing your writing project. Note: You don't need to fill in all the boxes; if you only have two or three categories, that is fine.

(If you are having trouble sorting your ideas into categories, you might want to look at this example).

Category 1:

Category 2:

Category 3:

Category 4:

Category 5:

There is another way to put your ideas into categories, called clustering, or sometimes satellites. To do this, put your main topic in the middle of a sheet of paper, then think of related topics, and put them around the main topic. Connect the ideas with lines, and as you add more ideas, keep connecting them with the ideas they are related to. Making clusters might help you come up with ideas and see how they all relate.

See an example of a cluster diagram.

Putting your ideas into categories can be very useful when you organize your writing project. Each one of your categories might be turned into a paragraph. Or for longer projects, each category might be expanded into a section.

Everyone has a different way of gathering ideas. If you didn't find categories and clusters 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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