Heuristics are writing exercises. They can be prompts, templates, outlines. They can even be an exercise like greeting sunrise each morning and being ready to write. People use heuristics to stimulate their imagination about a topic.

The term heuristic is derived from the Greek word heuresis, which means to discover or invent.

Heuristics in contemporary discourse are exercises writers, speakers, knowledge workers . . . use to stimulate thinking about a subject, topic. Heuristics do not predispose a particular outcome but are instead meant to serve as points of departure. There is no right and wrong way to conduct a heuristic.

Writers, Speakers, Knowledge Workers . . . use heuristics such as freewriting to engage in divergent thinking. They use rhetorical heuristics such as a document planners to help bring focus to commonplaces shared by writers and readers, senders and receivers.

Synonyms: Prewriting Strategies.

Heuristics are exercises that are designed to stimulate creative thinking about a topic.

Writers use heuristics to help themselves (or their teams) to refine their thinking about a particular exigency.

Heuristics are sort of like an athlete’s warm up exercises. For instance,

  • a writer could write a reflective note about the rhetorical situation or maybe as work plan for drafting and collaborating.
  • While reading, the writer could draft a book mark about the status of scholarly conversation about the topic. The writer could conduct even a bit of metacognitive work about whether the project is really worth doing.
Heuristics are acts of imagination and reflection