Prompts for brainstorming good essay topics

Good essays need good prompts. The best topics come from brainstorming lots of ideas. If you know the niche you're writing in, that's a great place to start. If you are writing about yourself or your life, you'll be doing some deep thinking.

Essay requirements

You might be writing this essay in response to an application requirement. If so, make sure you comb through the application and find out all the expectations for the essay. If they want you to write a reflective essay and you come up with topics for a compare and contrast essay, that won't work very well for you.

Does the application give you a question you must answer? Have they given a specific word count or number of pages to adhere to? Are you required to elucidate on a personal experience? Knowing what the expectations are will help you focus on a suitable topic.

If your essay is meant to be on current affairs, you can use questions or statements to brainstorm topics:

  • Hunger is an indication of the extent of social injustice. How is this manifest in the world today? Choose a country to relate this statement to. Does the theory stand true?
  • Is failure really failure, or does it pave the path to success? Do we learn as much from failure as we do from success or perhaps even more? What is an example?
  • What is the role of media in a nation or community that's democratic? How is this shown to be true? What are some examples?

There are many prompts available online in almost any area you can think of. These prompts can be used to get your creative juices flowing to find the perfect topic for your essay. Think of taking a broad topic, and branching out into smaller sub-topics. Write down your ideas. It should look like the branches on a tree. One of these ideas may jump out at you.

If you find you are stuck for ideas, turn to researching your area of interest. Read through some published journal articles, or even some magazines. You never know where you will find the spark that will become your essay topic. Often there are others thinking about or questioning things in your chosen field. When you can read other people's questions it will start your own brain to look for answers. This process will help you narrow down your topic idea.

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