Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brainstorming; How Do You Do it?

I'm sitting here trying to revise (which is nearly impossible since my three-year-old um...became three years-old) and so naturally that means I am procrastinating on the internet. I came across a post by paranormal author Kait Nolan today about writing things down with a pen, instead of on the computer.

I'm sure most of you have already figured out that your brain works differently when you write freehand as opposed to staring at your computer screen. I'm a panster, meaning 90% of my writing is done organically without outlining or planning. After I've got a decent draft, or most of one, I work things out in a notebook. I'll write down what I have, what I want, and possible routes to get there.

One of my writing colleagues at Tangled Fiction asked me what I do to brainstorm (some people like to lay on the floor and listen to music) and I really couldn't think of anything. Aside from working things out in a notebook, I don't think I really have any brainstorming tactics. Sure, ideas pop in my head when they're least expected and I'm forced to scribble on my arm, or leave myself voicemail. But I don't have a routine for it. Riding on the back of my husband's motorcycle helps to open my mind (it's ridiculously relaxing) but because I'm a mom that's not an easy option. Stuffing your kids in a saddlebag is frowned upon.

So what do you all do to get the creative juices flowing?


  1. All my brainstorming ideas are kept in a notebook (my problem is too many ideas and too little time). I wrote my last wip the panster way, and it's taken me FOREVER to revise (as you know).

    With my new wip, I used my notebook and jotted down a rough outline and all the key points. This has made the first draft go so much smoother (and I'm really hoping that translates to the revision process as well!) We'll see. :)

  2. I've found that if I'm in a rut, I can usually get started again if I write by hand. Something about putting the pen to paper. And any ideas I get (whether for a scene or a new story idea) are written down and then typed into a file on my computer.

  3. I've only ever written one novel, and never really had to brainstorm for it, so I'm probably not the best person to answer this, but I think you make an excellent point about thinking differently while staring at the monitor.

  4. Ok, whenever I am alone and can talk it all out with no one to interrupt me (or look at me like I've lost my mind because I'm talking to myself... if they only knew I was talking to my made-up characters *evil cackle*) the ideas flow. I have three kiddos myself (all teen and pre-teen) so it's a little easier to get them out of the house or get me out of the house for that alone time. Three years old is tough. I also NEED my headphones with killer music playing (also not cool for a mommy of a three year old... imagine the damage going on behind you) but it sets my mood and I just write! I do about half and half notebook or computer brainstorming. But I LOVE writing it out... it feels more like writing I guess. Ok, I'm done :)

  5. I definitely have to write with pen and paper in a stream-of-conciousness style to brainstorm. If that doesn't work, going for a walk usually does the trick!


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