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Thursday, January 19, 2017

 

Brainstorming: Consistently Generating New Ideas Pays Off

Throughout the month of January, I’m taking part in an idea generation challenge called Storystorm. Participating writers agree to come up with 30 new ideas in 30 days. The ideas can be for picture books, adult novels, magazine articles or whatever you write.

While I’m never entirely without ideas, I have to admit that the first few days were a challenge. Yes, I came up with an idea a day but it was a struggle. Still, I read the blog posts, scrolled through photos on Pixabay, and piddled around until I came up with my daily idea.

I’d often heard the advice that sitting down to write on a regular basis opens a creative tap. Sit down to write 10 minutes a day and for the first few weeks those ten minutes may be torture. But eventually the words will come more easily and you’ll find yourself writing for 15 or 20 minutes. Before you know it, you’re writing two pages at a time.

I’m here to tell you that the same thing applies to brainstorming. Not only is coming up with my daily idea much easier this late in the month but I often come up with more than one idea per day. During shavasana in yoga one day, I came up with not one idea but nine. Granted that wasn’t great for my shavasana, a pose that is supposed to be a time of relaxing meditation, but it was amazing for my idea list.

Brainstorming regularly is also paying off in terms of my problem projects. I’ve been beating my head against a novel for quite a while now. About a week ago, I got out my outline and realized that the ending just did not work. And the beginning? Awful. Horrid. I gave up. I dramatically announced it to my family. I told my critique group.

And the next day while I was on the treadmill the PERFECT opening scene popped into my head. Yes, I still need to fix the ending but the new beginning? It contains the solution for a lot of the pacing problems, it notches up the stakes, and more. I only have two pages written so far but that’s two pages more than I had before I quit.

Brainstorming. It’s definitely a good practice to develop and I’m going to be doing it long after the challenge ends on January 31st. I may not need 365+ new story ideas in one year, but it seems to be shaking loose a range of creative energy. Who can say no to that?

--SueBE

To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.
Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults which starts again 2/6/2017.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sioux said...

Sue--Over the next couple of years, it will be interesting to see how many of those 31 ideas grow into something more than ideas.

My question: when you came up with more than one idea, did you tally all the ideas for that one day, or did you "save" them for another day?

It sounds like an interesting (and effective) challenge. Good luck with those, and with your head-banging novel...

3:25 AM  
Blogger Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Sioux,
One or two of them are already queries and I'm researching the competition on another. Some won't go anywhere because they just aren't that good. You know how that goes!

It is really tempting to come up with multiple ideas in one day and say "I'm done for the week." But I don't let myself do that. They aren't fully developed for the most part so it isn't any effort to jot them down.

--SueBE

8:57 AM  

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