Two Easy Brainstorming Techniques

22 Aug

You have a great idea.

Yes, you! You have an incredible idea for a blog. Your head is full of awesome ideas for post topics. Your brain is your own best resource for what to write about. It is full of things. What things? Everything.

Your brain is full of everything you have ever seen, heard, thought about, imagined or learned. Brains remember everything. That is why sometimes you see someone at a party and their name is “right on the tip of your tongue” but you can’t quite recall. You know all the lyrics to a song but you don’t realize you know them until you hear the tune on the radio.  The problem with your brain is rarely ever the storage. Your brain is a vault of random facts, figures and memories. The problem is in accessing all of those things. They are tiny boxes filed away inside bigger boxes.

We all have great ideas. All we have to do is unpack them from all of the other clutter in our brains. Brainstorming is the map to through all of those boxes of your mind.

Brainstorming is the answer.

Most of us learned something about brainstorming somewhere along the line. It could have been in a writing class or during corporate management training. Brainstorming is a broad name for many different techniques of “creative thinking”.

I am sure I will have more to share about brainstorming in the future. It is a very important tool in blogging and writing.

Let’s talk about two.

Webbing.

I have heard it called a brainstorming tree or just a brainstorming chart. It reminds me of a web, especially how it is built. Start at the center where the spider sits. This is your main idea. In planning content for a blog, this is your subject. The center is the subject of your blog. If you are starting a blog about cooking, then write “Cooking” in the center circle. Now expand outward from the center surrounding the center with more circles and connect it with lines. These could be different methods of cooking. Maybe you write in those circles “On the grill”, “Raw and Cold”,”Fried”, “Woks and Steaming”,”In the Oven” and then you have the stray thought, “Special Diets”. It isn’t looking too much like a web yet.

Now, obviously each of these ideas have many other subsets of ideas just screaming at you.  On the Grill makes you think “Outdoor Cooking”,”Burgers” ,”Chicken” but you just tried out some new things so you write, “Shrimp” and “Kabobs”. Special Diets makes you think of your vegetarian sister-in-law so you write “Vegetarian” in a circle extending from that and then your husband is diabetic and you have a lot of great recipes for that so you write “Diabetic”.  Now you can go on again with even more circles with specific recipes.

See I bet you weren’t sure you had a lot to say. Now you have a whole page of ideas. Pick one and get started writing.

Venn Diagram.

You are sitting in front of the computer and you start to daydream. Don’t feel guilty. We all daydream. One thought leads to another and another. Suddenly, you’re off somewhere far off topic.

Don’t dismiss that. It’s the power of association. Don’t say how different two things are. Ask yourself what connects these two disparate ideas. That’s the basis of a lot of creativity. It’s one reason writers love metaphor, because they put things together in new ways.

Not everything will work out, but sometimes those connections make for a new and interesting way to look at an old idea.

The diagram is a way of illustrating these associations. One circle represents one idea and the other represents your other idea. Maybe write in one circle “Zen” and in the other “Motorcycle Maintenance”. These are two very disparate ideas but there is a connection that could be made to write about. The diagram will help you find it.

Now make a list of all of the traits of zen.  “Philosophy”,”Meditation”, “Intuition”,”Contemplation”, and “Puzzles”.

What are some traits of motorcycle maintenance. “Tools”,”Dirty”,”Knowledge of Mechanics”, “Inspection”, “Diagnosis” and “Problem Solving”.

Now you write all of those traits in the correct circle if you see where the word could apply to both ideas then write it in the overlapping portion. Just jumping out at me I see where “Intuition”, “Puzzles”, and  “Contemplation” could apply to both from the zen traits. A case could be made that “Inspection”, “Diagnosis”, and “Problem Solving” could apply to both from the motorcycle list.

Now you have just made a connection between two things that seemed very different at first. Do you see where you could easily write about the similarities between the two now?

These are two very simple techniques for brainstorming that you can use while trying to find a topic for a blog post. Remember…

Brainstorming = Creative Thinking

Brainstorming is a topic  web with a lot of little topics branching off. I will be sure to revisit these ideas many times. Brainstorming is a topic that you can’t cover in just one post. I will revisit this big idea of brainstorming many times.

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8 Responses to “Two Easy Brainstorming Techniques”

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