You’ve hit the wall. There’s a bad case of writer’s block. You’ve got an assignment that needs to get done and no ideas to help you get started. In times like these, it can be highly beneficial to have some brainstorming ideas for writing to get you out of a pickle. There are several strategies that help writers get out of these dark moments on a regular basis, so let’s take a look at the ones which offer benefits in a consistent way.
#1. The Cubing Method
This brainstorming strategy forces a writer to look at a topic from 6 different points of view. It’s a lot like the 6 questions a journalist is supposed to focus on during an interview: who, what, where, when, why, and how. By answering these questions about the subject matter at hand, you can develop thoughts or opinions that can then be expressed by the written word.
If you don’t wish to answer all of those questions while trying to come up with ideas, this brainstorming idea can be cut in half. Ask yourself three questions instead: why, where, and how. This will help you begin to develop some of the facts you’ll need to get started without focusing on the actual characters which may need to be involved.
#2. The Freewriting Method
Sometimes the best way to generate new ideas for writing is to just start writing. That’s what this brainstorming idea is all about. Just sit down and write.
Now you should have some sort of goal in mind that is reasonable to reach. Maybe 500 words, or 3 pages, or 7 minutes of writing – it doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t burn out all of your creative juices for the day. The goal of freewriting isn’t to create perfectly eloquent prose. Just keep writing, even if you make a mistake. You’re not trying to put together coherent thoughts, although this does tend to happen.
If you’re really struggling with the idea of not correcting mistakes, then consider closing your eyes to type. Or turn off your computer monitor if you prefer. This way you can focus on your ideas without worrying about your mistakes.
#3. The Listing Method
Every writer has certain ideas that they want their readers to see and understand. If you’re having trouble with the body text of what you’re writing, then consider listing out the various key points that you’re trying to communicate. What ideas or elements are going to stand out to the readers? Are there different facts, questions, or opinions that will help readers be able to see these key points more effectively.
It’s easy to think of this brainstorming idea as an outline, but it’s really more of a series of different questions. You’ll be looking at the values of each character, the goals and obstacles they have and face, and the components necessary to effectively communicate the answers you discover with your readers. Any combination of the above is suitable for this particular idea.
#4. The Mapping Method
This brainstorming idea can help you connect ideas to one another so the writing process can begin. Have you ever watched a crime show where they use a map and pictures to look for patterns in behavior? This idea uses the same concept, except you’re using ideas instead of crime to find useful patterns.
There are not set rules when it comes to the actual design or production of the map used to connect ideas. Many writers tend to just write down ideas, circle them, and then connect the circles to similar thoughts so that ideas can begin to form. It can be tempting to connect ideas once you have them, but this brainstorming idea tends to work better after all your ideas have been exhausted.
#5. The Research Method
If you know what you want to write about, but you’re stuck because you have no idea about what would happen to a character in that location, then research is your best option. Researching locations, historical figures, or even your family history can help you begin to form ideas that will bring a sense of realism to your writing.
It’s not just physical places that benefit from this brainstorming idea. You can learn more about cultures, social structures, or even religious attitudes from this process. This method does tend to take a little more time than the other ideas offered, but it can also offer a more complete set of ideas that can inspire your writing for days or weeks to come.
These brainstorming ideas for writing are designed to help give your creativity a kickstart. If they don’t work, try something else. Combine ideas together if you wish. Just don’t give up until you reach your writing goals.