Brainstorming is probably the most important piece of the writing process. If you are one of those people who struggles with getting started on your writing project, then these useful tips might help you re-organize and re-think the brainstorming process. Whether you are writing an article, an essay, a story, or a novel, the brainstorming process is probably the most essential part of your project. It doesn't have to be a boring web or map. With these simple steps, you can take all of that mush in your brain and turn it into organized chaos. 


This method is probably the first and most important method when it comes to brainstorming. It will help you get all of the racing thoughts out of your head, and, you guess it, put it into a nice, neat box. You don't have to write anything related to your project, but you should see that after a couple of minutes, you will be coming up with some insightful thoughts about your topic.

Step 1:

Draw a small box on a piece of paper. You can even draw a shape (such as a star or a heart) if you want to. Whatever floats your boat.


Step 2:

Begin filling in your box with words and phrases that come into your head. They don't have to be lined or in a specific order. Consider that your task is to fill this entire box with anything and everything that you are thinking about right now. That means you should try to completely fill the space of the box. Don't feel obligated to write in a straight line. Make it as crooked, messy, and crazy as you want it to be.


Step 3: 

Observe what you have placed in your box. Think about what all these things mean to you and how this information could be relevant to your project. Remember, looking over the irrelevant information will be helpful too because it will show you what you don't need to focus on. It's kind of like opening up your mind to see the possibilities. 

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Listing Tips

One of the second most important elements of brainstorming is list making. If you are the type of person that likes to sit down and make lists, this will be your golden ticket in the writing process. Lists are a great way to take what you are thinking about and turn it into something more organized. Take the best information from your "Box It In" exercise and make a list of the most important things. Make a list of things you love, things you hate, and rank your favorites from best to worst. This will help you build a mental picture of what information you can use and what you need to scrap. 

Something From A Hat

Once you have decided on some of your best ideas, write them down on small slips of paper or index cards, and throw them in a hat or a jar. Randomly select three of your slips of paper. These will become your best ideas. Take several minutes to think about each idea and then free-write about each one. What are some of the best things about this idea? What makes it stand out from all the others? How can you incorporate this idea into your writing process? After completing this exercise, take a break. Give your thoughts time to settle, and then come back to the writing process later. (preferably the next day). Letting something soak in your brain overnight is very helpful and can give you new insights into what you are writing. If you really want to see how that works, keep a journal next to your nightstand. If you think of another brilliant idea between then and the next time you start writing, copy it down so you won't forget!

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The next step is to take the information from your list and turn it into a checklist. Consider thinking about what point of view you will be writing, what your setting will be, who your audience is, etc. Create a checklist of things that you want to achieve in your writing. Decide what tone/mood you want to convey, and how you will attempt to convey it. 

Brainstorming In Weird Places

As stated previously, sometimes our brainstorming comes when we are in the middle of an activity, or even when we are taking a shower. Keep a notepad or a pen and paper handy in several rooms in your house. That way, if you are in the shower, washing your dishes, doing the laundry, or sleeping, and you come up with a great idea, you will be ready to log that in your notebook. At the end of the day, take a look at all of the ideas you have come up with and add them to your lists and checklists. 

The Internet, Books, and Magazines

The greatest places to draw inspiration for your writing are books, magazines, and even the internet. Pinterest has great quotes, pictures, and ideas. Browse the website and find some of your favorite quotes. Create a board entitled "Inspiration" and pin all of your favorite things related to your topic on it. This should give you some motivation and inspiration for your writing. Also, do some reading. Read up on your favorite authors to see how they tackle the writing style that you are looking for. Take notes and practice some free-writing exercises where you try to imitate their style. The more you practice and study your favorite authors, the better a writer you will become. Sometimes magazines have interesting articles, pictures, and other elements that might be useful to your project. Cut out your favorites and keep them in a notebook for further inspiration. Take a look at your findings when you have writers block and see if free-writing about them doesn't help you come up with a wonderful new idea. 


The brainstorming process can be hard to start, but with these tips, you can make it more fun, interesting and motivating for you. Keep things organized by collecting all of your findings in a binder or notebook. Once you have thoroughly brain-stormed, look back at your notebook and use it as a guide to start writing your masterpiece!