Organize Your Papers By Clustering Ideas Together

Clustering ideas is a type of prewriting that allows you to evaluate and arrange your ideas as soon as they occur to you. Like brainstorming you do not have to have prior knowledge of your ideas.

Clustering your ideas allows you to create a picture of your thoughts, which can be arrange later.


Clustering ideas sample

Let's say you decide your topic is going to be going to college.

  1. Start by drawing a circle around your topic going to college.
  2. Next write down all the word that come to mind when you think about your topic going to college . Don't spend too much time on this step. Write quickly . Circle the words as you write and connect them to your main topic going to college in the middle.
  3. Now you have a complete list of your ideas. You can add to this list and cross out information that seem irrelevant.

Check out this pdf sample cluster on going to college

In the PDF above you can see that I have begun to cluster ideas on going to college. My two sub-categories are "job skills" and "growth as a person."

As more ideas come to your mind, you will want to write these in circles underneath the categories that are appropriate. You see this in the example of "job skills" where I listed "more money" underneath it."

Here are some other things to be aware of when clustering ideas

  • Have fun with this exercise. Remember this exercise is to help you improve your writing skills.Don't get stressed out about the structure of how your cluster should look.
  • If you get stuck on what to write, start asking questions. In the college example above you could ask: why do I want to go to college? What would I experience at college? How would college change me? Asking questions will open up a whole new avenue for ideas. Let the ideas flow. The key is to keep writing.
  • If something you write down seems silly, so what? Write down all of your ideas. You can always go back and cross out what doesn't fit and connect what does.

Remember if this strategy of organizing your ideas does not work, try one of these brainstorming idea. Whatever your prewriting strategy is, pick one (or two) and stick with it! By organizing your ideas, it will truly improve your writing.

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