How often do you brainstorm writing ideas? Some writers have a constant steam of ideas they get throughout the week and others delve into their creative sauce to come up with ideas as needed. All of us should stop regularly and get our brains working on new article ideas and interesting angles on evergreen* topics.
Scheduling a brainstorming session is not only for coming up with new ideas, but to make sure, if you’re a niche writer, that you are staying on topic. It is really easy to find yourself moving away from your niche or particular area of interest if you get caught up in the day-to-day mechanics of maintaining a steady flow of work and income.
A brainstorming session is only as good as the preparation for it. Sitting down with a pen and blank piece of paper or word document can put a lot of pressure on yourself and can lead to a frustrating experience. Likewise, if you’re trying to generate ideas while making dinner, running errands or with Barney on in the background, it is unlikely you will be able to successfully keep your train of thought on the right track. Here are a few tips to make your session a success:
- Pick a quiet time. Whether it’s during the kids’ naps or when the phone normally stops ringing, being able to hear yourself think is important.
- Gather inspirational materials ahead of time. Books, ads, magazine articles, old articles you’ve written, etc. – sometimes the best ideas are sparked by outside sources.
- The distractions of our regular workspace can be too much to ignore. Take a walk, find a quiet spot with WiFi, anything to get away from your Twitter account. Plus a new environment may help spark the flame of inspiration.
- Schedule a time and commit. You schedule everything else, especially work related items, this should be no different.
- Have a good way of recording and storing your ideas. If you’re a paper and pen person, be sure all of your hard work doesn’t end up on the back of a napkin that can be mistakenly used or thrown away. If you’re a electronic device user, have your storage means set up ahead of time. Your brainstorming session is not the time to create spreadsheets or figure out project management software.
What tips do you have for brainstorming success? Tell us below!
*Freelance Vocabulary Word Alert:
Evergreen topics – topics that have a long shelf life. They aren’t associated with trends or current events and normally are popular topics for a particular genre or subject. Example: Query tips is a popular evergreen topic for freelance writers.