Assignments: answering the question
Download and use this checklist of items to look at before, during and after finishing your assignment.
What assignments are and what to expect from them
Brainstorming - University of North Carolina Writing Center
This page discusses brainstorming in more detail and describes other brainstorming approaches in addtion to free writing and mind mapping
This is a freemium (Wikipedia definition) website where you can create mindmaps online.
Freemind is a very good piece of software that allows you to do mindmapping on a computer rather than a piece of paper. It's not for everyone, but have a look at it.