Showing posts with label mindmapping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mindmapping. Show all posts

Writing - Brainstorming for Ideas

Brainstorming is a technique for generating ideas and creative solutions. Several formats and can be utilized for a group, one on one, or independently.

My first experience was during a company training session. A problem was presented and discussion guided by a facilitator.  Throughout the discussion, ideas written on postett notes lined the walls. Each participant was encouraged to contribute, no idea too quirky to build upon. When each member is involved in developing solutions, they’re much more likely committed to see it through.

It is interesting that in studies individual brainstorming generates more and often better ideas than group storming because people find they can be freer and more creative without dread of group egos.

Five Techniques for Effective Brainstorming:

1.    Brain Writing is a technique to get everyone in a group involved in the generating of ideas. The basic process is to separate the idea generation from discussion. Each individual writes their ideas then submits to the facilitator directly. Often, away from distraction and public opinion, this format develops more unique ideas.

2.    Starbursting focuses on forming questions instead of answers, beginning with who, what, where, when and why.

3.    Mind Mapping may be the most classical approach and the one I've seen most often. The written goal is noted in a center circle, with lines branching out to subtopics, and again for subcategories. Circled notes continue as ideas continue to form.

4.    Blind Writing is freeform writing, forcing you to put pen to paper for a minimum of 10 minutes to open up fresh ideas. The one rule is that you must keep writing for those 10 minutes.

5.    Reverse Storming is idea generation in the opposite, gathering ideas of how I can stop a goal from succeeding. It helps to uncover new approaches.

For additional information see:  

Deborah Lyn Stanley is a writer of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and story. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts, which she often writes about. Visit her web-blog: Deborah Lyn Stanley : MyWriter's Life .

“Write your best, in your voice, your way!

Create Your Own Personal Writing Retreat

A quiet cabin hidden in the Poconos
Luscious meals prepared by a five star chef
No cell phones
Great writing coaches
An eclectic group of talented and generous writers

These are the ingredients I remember from Room to Create, a writers retreat in 2011 put on by the Highlights Foundation.  This fall a reunion retreat was planned for this group.  Sandy Asher and Linda Oatman High were once again the facilitators.  Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this year. 
Disappointed that I couldn't attend and realizing that my writing life needed a jump-start, I decided I would give myself a personal retreat.  I took a day off work, and committed it to writing.  I did not leave the house or clean the house. My house definitely needed cleaning and there were tons of errands I needed to run, but I was giving myself the gift of a writing day. 

After breakfast, I sipped my coffee and sat down in front of my computer.  What should I work on?  I opened one of my picture book manuscripts.  I closed it.  I opened one of my non-fiction projects.  I closed it too.  I decided to spend the day organizing my writing life.  I reviewed each manuscript to determine its status.  Some of my manuscripts are at publishing houses waiting for feedback; some need massive revisions, while others are in their final stages.  Then there are the projects that are little more than research notes and beginning ideas.  

I am someone who always has many writing projects in the hopper.  I know some writers start a writing project, dig in their teeth, and keep at the one project until it’s done.  That’s just not me.  I dig in, chew and gnaw at my manuscript, but then I need to put it down, let it ferment while I work on another project.  In order to keep track of my many projects, I use a mind mapping program called freeplane.  So, on this personal retreat day, after I reviewed each manuscript, I updated it on my mindmap.  Here’s the outline of my map for my children’s writing without the specific projects.

I didn't get a ton of writing done during my personal retreat, but I did reset my focus and determine where to put my writing energy.  Instead of feeling overwhelmed, by what I need to get done, I felt empowered by what I had accomplished.

If you’re feeling like your writing life needs a reboot, consider a personal retreat.

Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life strategist. For more information check out:  

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