Why Words Matter
Why Words Matter
Prewriting strategies are methods used by a writer to create and arrange ideas before writing. These strategies enable the writer to easily generate new ideas and clarify them in order to produce a well-written and smooth-flowing article. Three of the most commonly used prewriting strategies are; brainstorming, mind mapping and asking the six journalists’ questions.
Brainstorming is whereby the writer summarizes the topic he intends to discuss in a word or sentence, gives himself a time limit and then writes out every idea that comes to mind in relation to the topic. This strategy involves coming up with new ideas and concepts out of the existing ones. By brainstorming, the writer engages free flow of thought; he quickly jots down every word or phrase associated with the topic and does not stop until he runs out of associations.
Mind mapping involves exploring the relationship between ideas, it is also referred to as idea mapping or clustering. The writer writes the topic in the center of a page and highlights it. He then thinks of ideas that he relates to the topic and links them to the central idea using lines. When he thinks of an idea related to the generated ideas, he adds them onto the map and so forth, until he exhausts all his ideas. From this clustering process the resulting figure looks like a web or map. This enables the writer organize and elucidate his ideas. The Six Journalist’s questions are; Who? What? Where? When? Why? and how? These questions help the writer delve deeper into the topic, organize his thoughts and ideas and generate new ideas. For this strategy to be effective, the writer should ask questions that are significant and relevant to the topic.
Brainstorming, mind mapping and the six journalists’ questions are similar in that they help the writer to generate ideas, organize his thoughts and narrow down the ideas in order to create a free-flowing article. All three methods involve the generation of a list, which the writer will use as a draft to write the final complete article. They are therefore used to prepare for the final article. All three methods involve the stimulation of the writer’s memory in order to come up with ideas. Brainstorming and mind mapping are similar because they involve jotting down the key ideas generated in the mind in relation to the topic.
One of the key differences between these three strategies is that brainstorming and mind mapping are conscious strategies, while the six journalists’ questions is a conscious strategy. This means that for brainstorming and mind mapping, the writer taps into his unconscious creativity because he employs an unstructured method of thinking. Whereas, for the six journalists’ questions, the writer taps into his conscious creativity because his creativity does not flow freely, it is guided by the questions.
The most effective strategy is the six journalists’ questions strategy because it enables the writer to generate a lot of information about the topic. This method also requires the writer to come up with questions that are pertinent to the topic in order to develop an effective article. In addition to this, the six journalists’ questions enable the writer to analyze the topic from different perspectives; this gives this strategy an advantage over the other strategies. The six journalists’ questions act as a guiding factor and thus help the writer to focus only on the issues that are important to the topic. Brainstorming and mind mapping are not structured in any way; therefore, it may sometimes result in the discussion of issues that are not pertinent to the question. The journalists’ questions also help in clarifying the writer’s ideas so that the final article is written effectively.
The least effective strategy is brainstorming. Brainstorming includes generating several ideas within a short time without any editing. As a result, this strategy emphasizes on speed as opposed to coming up with quality and reasonability. Some of the ideas generated may not be relevant to the topic yet they may end up on the final article because there is no structured method of evaluating the relevancy of the ideas.
Pre-writing enables the writer to produce a better article because it gives him a deeper understanding of the topic. It provides a method through which the writer can pool, organize and clarify his thoughts in order to develop a well-structured and clearly-written article. Pre-writing is also beneficial to the writer because it helps to eliminate writers’-block, where the writer is not able to churn out any new ideas, it helps the writer to keep his ideas flowing. Pre-writing also helps the writer to prepare adequately to write the final draft and hence write confidently. This enables him to produce a more effective article.