Brainstorming Ideas

Brainstorming: what a provocative word! It conjures up images of volcanic energy and little gray cells storming the ramparts of problems armed with solutions. Brainstorming is a great tool in our writer’s kitbag and it’s especially handy when we hit a roadblock.

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another along the writing road: We get stuck in a rut, we hit a pothole, we take a detour that throws us off course. Our characters misbehave. Our plot has more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese. We can’t quite come up with the chapter cliffhanger we need.

What to do, what to do? Here’s a simple 6-stage plan of action I came across a while ago for triggering new ideas and possibilities the may prove helpful if you’re creatively in a “bit of a bother” as the Brits are fond of saying:

Give yourself some time to think: Brainstorming isn’t an instant, canned process – it calls for reflection and concentration. So if you want to ignite ideas that really have some flair and sparkle, give yourself the gift of time. A relaxed mind is a creative mind: Rushing doesn’t invite innovative solutions.

Get away from your usual place: When little kids get upset in public, one of the best ways to calm them down is to do a “geographic” — remove them to a different setting. In the same way, a change of scene can be useful for percolating ideas – it’s a way of refreshing your mind and senses. It signals to yourself something new’s afoot.

Set yourself a target: Challenge yourself to come up with 3 to 5 new and different ideas. I was recently asked to come up with 5 openings for a project. Just the notion of dreaming up so many different ways to enter a story got my juices flowing. Here’s an easy way to aid the process: Take a fresh piece of paper or open a new document and list the numbers 1 to 5 on it: having the numbers in front of you waiting for a response can help jog your imagination.

Lock up your inner censor: Go crazy! When you’re brainstorming, anything goes – the sky’s the limit! So press the pause button on that little voice that says you can’t do this.

Be bold:  Ask yourself some inciting, exciting questions: If I really couldn’t fail, what would I do? What’s the easiest way to do this? The boldest? The most fun?

Start shaping a solution: Pick the idea that grabs you the most and start playing with it – see where it takes you. If it fizzles, try another. Life is full of fun and surprises – give yourself and your readers everything you’ve got!

OK, here’s our plan: Let’s be creative, be bold, have fun — and write on!

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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