What do you do before you set out on your morning jog or that afternoon bike ride through the city? You stretch, right? What happens when you don't stretch? Exactly, cramps, pulled muscles you name it. Well, think of brainstorming as the stretch before you write.
Brainstorming has no rules except one: there are no rules. Therefore, just write or type whatever thoughts run through your mind. Forget grammar, spelling and punctuation. You can always grab a dictionary, grammar check or spell check; that part is easy. Coming up with ideas...now that can be difficult. Free yourself from the stress of having to produce a "perfectly" written and "perfectly" developed piece. Instead focus on allowing your ideas to flow and encourage creativity. Set no limits and avoid listening to the negative whispers in your ears, for they serve to hinder any chances you have of producing something that truly displays who you really are and what you really believe. Dare to be different, unusual but not necessarily weird.
(My son took this picture at an aquarium in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Even though I suggested it was a bad idea because it was too dark in the room, he did it anyway. Ironically, it became one of our favorite photos of that trip. )
What would you rather read? Predictable, safe and unemotional rhetoric? Or truthful, direct and sometimes unconventional writing? Brainstorming may, and I do say may, allow you to find that inner voice, the real voice inside you that has not had a chance to speak because it is too worried about sounding right and looking right. If you get a chance, just try writing, nothing else but writing. Don't think about "how" to write, just write.
WHAT ARE SOME BRAINSTORMING TECHNIQUES?
- free writing (looks like a paragraph)
- listing (a to do list of words or phrases)
- questioning (who, what, where, when , why and how)
- clustering or mapping (draw a circle...attach lines or legs, that's what I call them... write your main idea in the circle and on the legs whatever comes to mind)