Blogger: Mary Keeley
We all have dreaded days when we stare at a blank page, unable to come up with an idea. Those are the times writers need to allow their resources of Brainstorming and Inspiration to move into free-flowing gear. Notice I said, “allow” because free-flowing thoughts can’t be manufactured.
Brainstorming: “noun; a conference technique of solving specific problems, amassing information, stimulating creative thinking, developing new ideas, etc., by unrestrained and spontaneous participation in discussion” (Dictionary.com).
Either tool can trigger the other into operation, but when you begin with brainstorming, you need to have a desired outcome clear in your mind, because it provides boundaries and direction for your ideas. Inspiration, within the boundaries, may take over at some point in your brainstorming. A lifetime ago I was asked to participate in a brainstorming meeting. The reason I remember it so well is that I didn’t have a clue about what was being discussed. The other two participants had framed a desired objective before the meeting and forgot to share that detail with me. It must not have been clear in their minds either because the session was unproductive. This shows the importance of having a clear objective to reach.
You can use several approaches to brainstorm ideas for your objective, that is your topic or character or plot.
- Break your objective down into separate parts and focus on one at a time.
- Approach it from several different angles to find which one works best.
- Compare your objective (topic, character, plot) to a similar one that’s already been published and then list ways in which you can make yours unique.
Brainstorming is a method. It comes from within. Inspiration, on the other hand, comes from outside.
Inspiration: “noun; an inspiring or animating action or influence; a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul; the divine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced” (Dictionary.com).
Since inspiration can’t be manufactured or produced by any exerted method, where do you go to allow inspiration to come to you?
- Your favorite serene setting where you can be quiet and peacefully listen for inspiration to form
- Listen for inspiration to form while reading
- Where else? Do you have a special place you go to when you’re seeking inspiration? For example, I go anywhere I can see the expanse of the sky because it gives me a glimpse of how big God is and his participation in the world.
What do you need brainstorming help with today? Finding a niche for your book’s topic? Showing your character’s flaws and strengths? Solving a problem with your plot? Let’s have a brainstorming session. Together, maybe we can come up with solutions, perhaps even an inspiration. Be brief and specific.
A writer’s valuable resources: brainstorming and inspiration. Learn how they’re different. Click to Tweet.
Brainstorming and inspiration. Learn various approaches to each. Click to Tweet.