Maybe you think youre not creative or smart, but the fact is, your brain is full of great ideas. So you may be glad to know that, as with every other facet of life, you can follow a process that will enhance your creative powers.
The Writer's Block Process
Fact is, youve probably tossed a lot of good ideas because you didnt take the time to consider them thoroughly before discarding them. So how can you avoid this self-defeating process?
All you need to do is quit doing two jobs at oncethe first and the last steps in the writing process.
|Youve been painting your house before putting up the dry wall.||Youve been frosting the cake before preheating the oven||Youve been looking for your goodnight kiss before you ask for a date|
Leave the last step for later. For now, your only job is to produce ideas, not to judge and edit them. So any idea that comes, consider it. Write it down. Give it time to develop a little. Dont even begin to judge it. Maybe youll discard it eventually, maybe you wont use it till later. That doesnt matter. Just make sure you dont loose any good ideas to the writers block process.
And dont take short cuts here-write down your ideas. Writing allows you to turn off the part of your brain that wants to prejudge the ideas flowing in. It lets your production area work in peace.
Here are a few good brainstorming methods. Each has different strengths and each comes highly recommended. Each may be used at any stage of the writing process.
This is an easy one. Its especially good for producing a large quantity of ideas to get yourself started at any task. Simply write down your ideas as they come. Some people like to write each one on a separate piece of paper (particularly if done in a group to that each idea may later be considered separately).
It may help to have a specific question in mind. A few questions you might use if youre searching for a topic could be:
Be sure to leave room to consider topics that dont sound like "college paper" topics. In other words, just because youve mostly seen examples of papers written on large social issues doesnt mean that a paper on a local issue, or one that only applies to a small audience, wont work as well or even better.
Clustering helps to ensure that you consider all major segments of your topic (or whatever it is youre working on). Papers that skip important aspects usually show a failure to cluster.
Clustering involves taking your main topic (or whatever) and drawing a circle around it. From this main circle, lines go out to connect aspects having to do with the main subject. This continues outward in any direction until you feel youve satisfactorily developed your ideas.
Heres what a cluster might look like:
Freewritings a good way to generate ideas or to just get your ideas moving. The main idea is to start writing and to just keep going. Again, no judgment until later. Many people who freewrite dont even look back at what they wrote. Here are a few methods you might try:
Remember, brainstorming is not uniquely linear. You can use it at any stage of your writing and revising.
If you have taken the time to brainstorm before (or soon after) starting writing your paper, click here.