Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, culling personal experiences or synthesizing information from interviews or research, brainstorming is at the heart of any successful project.
I think of brainstorming not just as coming up with something, but as developing ideas from a single grain into a probing, insightful exploration of your subject matter. Brainstorming can create the difference between an expected, average piece to something that adds true value by making the reader stop and think, or by revealing to her a different side of the topic. Of course, brainstorming can also be absolutely necessary when you’re in a rut and unsure of how to get from A to C.
Over my eighteen (or so) years as a writer (of reviews, short stories, blog posts, e-books and product descriptions) I’ve developed many techniques for brainstorming, since I refuse to just sit and stare at a blank screen. Here are five of my favorites.
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