Come up with plenty of ideas and raw material when beginning a paper. Try to stop yourself from doing this too quickly, but don't hold back during brainstorming to edit yourself. Ideas should only be evaluated once the brainstorming session is over. One way to brainstorm is to make a list of all words and ideas relate to the topic you plan to write about. Have fun, and try to come up with as many ideas as possible, even impractical ones. For more visual learners, you can spread out your words all over a page.
Once you've run out of steam, look back at your list and see if any of the words relate to each other. Can you connect words to each other? Does one word cause you to think of another? Could your list be divvyed up into categories? If you are still short on ideas after this, repeat the process. Another way to make lists is with categories, such as a for and against list. This is especially helpful when writing a comparison essay.