Lecture Liveblog: 9-18-07


  • Writing is hard.
  • What ends up on the page isn’t like a train of thought.
  • The synthesis is more elaborate and consists many, very different pieces.

What is Prewriting?

  • A written form of ideation (process of coming up with ideas)
  • Think of it as a form of sketching
  • Give your left brain a break

What does it do?

  • Clarifies your ideas
  • Allows you to catalog and store your ideas
  • Starts “idea Darwinism” of main idea(s)

A Two Stage Process

  • The “From Nothing to (Lot of) Something” Stage
  • The “From Chaos to Order” Stage

Stage 1: Nothing to Something

  • Relatively easy mechanically
  • Relatively easy mentally
  • Yet, miraculously, creates lots of raw material to work with

Tools of the Trade

  • Matrices
  • Lists – “mind puke”
  • “Stickiestorming” – combination of sticky notes and listing
  • Freeform Prose -just write, conversational, personal, limited structure

End Results

  • Shows you what you know
  • Shows you what you don’t know
  • Reveals themes or even main idea(s)

Stage 2: From Chaos to Order

  • Main idea(s) fewer = better
  • Supporting idea(s) more = better
  • Detailed information

Tools of the Trade

  • Mindmaps
  • Outlines
  • Flowcharts/Venns
  • Doodles – “drawn ideation”

End Results

  • Helps to arrange your ideas
  • Adds structures on your thinking
  • Builds solid support for your main ideas

Channelling Jeff

  • Do it early
  • Do lots of it
  • Do it surrounded by your resources
  • Do it with David Bowie
  • Leave the editing to someone else’s left brain
  • If you must edit yourself, do so after you’ve been away for a while


  • Groups
  • Pick a topic from a non-you blog post
  • Share topics
  • Prewrite it for Thursday

1 Comment

  1. thismarty

    Wow, I’ve been livedblogged!

    Thanks to everyone. You were attentive, polite and involved – it was truly a joy to present to you.

    BTW, if any of you would be interested in a PDF of today’s presentation, just let me know.


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