Brainstorming: “the mulling over of ideas by one or more individuals in an attempt to devise or find a solution to a problem” (Merriam Webster)
Its another one of those darn buzzwords we hear and use so often, yet think about and actually put into practice so rarely. Sure, we all want to mull over our ideas and suddenly have solutions, but what are some actual techniques one can use to get this process started in a productive way?
Write Anything At All- One of the most important things I ever learned about writing was in grade school. We had a weekly in-class assignment of free writing, and every Friday at the same time we’d have to sit in collective silence with paper and pen on the desk – to write.
As is often the problem with fourth graders and professional copywriters, it can be pretty hard to be creative on-demand, especially when you’re working on a schedule that doesn’t account for your own moments of creativity. A lot of students had a problem thinking of anything to write, and the teacher gave us a perfect solution: Write anything at all.
In fact, if you need to write and you can’t think of anything, you could literally sit there writing “I do not have anything to write,” over and over again. This is creativity by attrition and boredom – it doesn’t take many minutes of writing that you have nothing to write about before you think of something you’d rather be writing about.
Title Writing – Take small ideas that aren’t fully developed into posts and file them away for later. Think about a concept, a hook, or a relationship between two topics that you’d like to explore more and write an article title for it. That’s it – you don’t need all of the content, metadata, and resource links just yet. Focus on the title. A compelling headline can draw in readers, and writing down possible story topics as soon as they pop into your mind is a great way to build up a surplus ideas that can quickly be translated into full articles.
Take a Walk – We bloggers tend to spend a lot of time sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen. We find a lot of inspiration online, but sometimes the best way to get new ideas is to get away from that routine for a little bit. Maybe you don’t write about nature and what’s going on in your neighborhood, but spending some time absorbing the sights and sounds of a peaceful walk around the block can clear out the frustration that often blocks creativity and give you some quiet time away from the constant ‘noise’ populating the blogosphere.
This is, by no means, the only way to brainstorm new ideas for writing projects. Everyone has their own method of recharging and becoming inspired. The key is to relax and just let the ideas go – write them down but don’t be heartbroken if you end up shelving half of these draft ideas out before you actually use them.
Do you have any tips or techniques that help you out when you’re stuck in a phase of writer’s block and don’t know what to say?