I am writing a paper, but I’m having trouble figuring out where to begin.

Beginning to write a paper is always a challenging process, even for the most experienced writers. You may have a clear idea of what you want to say but not how to say it. Or you may have no clear sense of how to begin. Either way, talking with others about your ideas can be helpful in getting started with the writing process. If you are not ready to begin discussing your ideas with others, there are several approaches you can take on your own that might be helpful:

  • Brainstorming
  • Clustering
  • Freewriting
  • Listing
  • Outlining

Even after you begin writing a draft, you may find it helpful to return to some of these strategies as you revise. If you are writing for an assignment, it is also important before you begin to make sure that you understand the assignment.

What can the Writing Center do to help?

Writing Center consultants can be effective readers in these situations, as they will raise questions that may help you to generate ideas for an assignment during the early stages. They can also be helpful in generating more ideas or adding to your text after you have completed a rough draft. Making an appointment as soon as you receive an assignment so you can discuss your initial ideas and questions is one of the best uses you can make of the Writing Center. Also, our consultants can help you determine whether you have met the requirements for the assignment.