Made in America

Think Outside of the Box with the Cubing Method

Writing isn’t always easy. Sometimes you can write for hours, and other times it’s a struggle to get started. However, rather than giving up, there are ways to keep your productivity flowing, including some pre-writing techniques.

In fact, today we are going to discuss one pre-writing technique in particular – cubing!

This writing method pushes a writer to think and re-think a topic, which, in turn, allows for better exploration of the various layers of the subject at hand.

As we all know, a cube has six sides – a top, a bottom, and the four sides around the center. Now, if you were to describe a cube to someone who could not see it, you would want to discuss each individual side of the object. As you move from side to side, your perspective will change as you write about the six faces.

To begin the pre-writing method of cubing, you’ll have to select a topic, which symbolizes as the cube as a whole. The topic can either be an issue, idea, event, problem, person or scene, for example.

Next, you’ll want to write the topic at the top of your page so that you can stay focused on that one specific idea.

Now it’s time to start the cubing process

1. Describe – The first thing you’ll want to do is to physically describe your topic. Ask yourself questions that will make you think of the characteristics that make this topic unique.

2. Compare – In this step you will want to delve into what this topic is similar to and different from in the external environment of your book.

3. Associate – What does the topic at hand make you think? What can it be related to? How could this topic connect to other related topics or issues? These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself as you brainstorm. Creativity is welcome, so write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how crazy it may seem.

4. Analyze – Ask yourself what smaller parts make up the overarching topic. By looking at the pieces of the puzzle individually, you’ll have a better chance at envisioning what they will look like when they are put together.

5. Apply – At this point, you’ll want to take a better look at your topic and decide where this idea can take you. What purpose does this topic serve?

6. Argue ­– Just like a lawyer in a courtroom; defend your position of supporting or not supporting the topic. Record your reasoning as to why the topic works or doesn’t work.

Once you’ve worked your way through the six-step cubing process, you’ll want to take a look at your responses to see if there is a pattern that comes to the surface. Note the powerful or interesting points that stick out to you, expand on those ideas and before you know it you’ll be right back to writing!

In the end, cubing will challenge you as a writer to not take a topic for its face value, but rather to examine each of the six different perspectives of an idea. It might even prove just the kickstart you need to get the words flowing again.

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