There will come a time in any student’s life when they’re faced with the challenge of choosing an essay topic. Some students will jump at the opportunity and know exactly what they want to write about. Other students will enter into a panic when they discover they have no idea how to choose a theme.
Finding inspiration for essays isn’t as hard as it might seem. You just need to know where to look. Here are some tips on how to find an awesome topic for your essay:
Make a list of things that interest you. If the essay topic is open, then the sky’s the limit. Start making a list of different subjects and ideas that are appealing to you. Maybe Japanese culture intrigues you or politics fascinates you. Maybe you’re an athlete and are interested in research about how to maximize performance. Or you’re a science whiz and Tesla is your super-hero. It’s much easier to get excited about writing when you’re writing about something you feel passionate about.
Read a newspaper or magazine. Scan headlines and look for something that grabs your attention. Try to choose something that isn’t too obscure. You want to make sure that you’re able to find more research on the topic. A subject that’s extra controversial will likely have more sources, which will make your research all the more easy.
Check out a topics list. The New York Times periodically publishes a list of essay writing prompts. The subjects include anything from technology to social media to health, sports and education. You’re sure to find something on this list that sparks your interest.
Have a conversation. Sit down with a friend, family member or teacher and talk broadly about your essay. Sometimes an interesting conversation can help get your brain buzzing and inspire you to write on a specific issue. Be sure to take notes and write down different ideas that come up in the conversation so you can refer to them later.
Visit an exhibit. An exhibit at your local museum or art gallery can give you a lot of information and research on whatever they happen to be presenting at the time.
Watch a documentary. Documentary films present a lot of information about a specific issue. They’re often biased towards a certain point of view but can also include a lot of interesting research. In any case, a good documentary can spark your interest in further investigating an idea. Here’s a list of some top documentaries.
Go for a walk. Sometimes a long walk can help inspire you. Whether you come across something on your walk that appeals to you or you simply have some time to let your thoughts settle, a walk can bring out ideas you didn’t know you had.
Do some free-writing. Free-writing is when you sit down and write without stopping for 10-20 minutes. The idea of free-writing is to allow your thoughts to run freely without interruption. You don’t have to worry about grammar or even if your thoughts are making sense. Just write whatever comes to mind. This process can sometimes jar your subconscious mind into producing interesting and workable ideas. After you finish your free-write, go back and read it to see if you can turn any of the garble into an essay topic.
Meditate. Sometimes, the best way for you to come up with an idea is to sit still. Instead of reaching out for a topic by reading or talking, try the opposite: go inward. Set an alarm for 10 minutes and choose a quiet place. Sit completely still and take several long deep breaths to help your body and mind get settled. Don’t try to control or steer you mind. Just let your thoughts come up freely and observe them as they come up. After the timer goes off, you can write down any interesting thoughts or observations you had during your meditation.
An essay topic is easy to find if you put your mind to it. There are many ways to come across the right topic for you and inspiration is all around you. Good luck and happy writing!