Monday, June 11, 2007


Question: How can I start to write when I'm not sure what I want to say?

Answer: Try brainstorming.

Frankly, my thoughts about brainstorming are a jumble. And I don't feel really "psyched" about writing right now. So I thought I would brainstorm the topic of "brainstorming" as an example of how I brainstorm. Warning: I follow my advice in the brainstorm and do not pay attention to spelling, correctness, capitals, etc. If I do use correctness, it's force of habit. This brainstorm was completed on a yellow legal pad and I am now transcribing what I wrote on the computer. I might add that in transcribing what I wrote on the yellow pad to the computer, I had considerable trouble with the legibility of my handwriting--even though I used print. Maybe I should try my brainstorming on the computer. I never really have tried that.

10-15 min. Just let it flow--all of your ideas on the topic. keep it short. Phrases, single words. In a list. Don't worry spelling, correctness. I like to use yellow pads and brainstorm with pencil. not comfortable on computer. just get ideas. helps find ideas of interest on an otherwise uninteresting topic. Don't quit. Use the full 10-15 min. At the end of 10-15 mins. quit. That's enough, although you'll probably add new ideas after you stop. When you think you're dry, you'll find other ideas. Don't bother to go back to read what you've written--will slow you up, if not stop. Time to analyze later. Keep the ideas coming. Used by advertisers. used by biologist Dr. Aggassiz at Harvard. Studied specimen in jar, brainstormed what he observed and turned observations into almost a book of notes. Advertisers--product on table. Green light and everybody in turn commented on ideas to advertise. Put comments on tape recorder. No one allowed to criticize. Took tape recorder and narrowed down to 2 or 3 ideas. frees up my mind. relaxed my mind. whenever I'm not sure what to say, brainstorming starts me thinking, gets me started, overcomes inertia. but not the end, need to take the next step. Define my main idea. how to organize the ideas. In group brainstorm, not allowed to criticize. all ideaas accepted. problem solving method? only need it when you're not sure how to begin? always take a moment to jot down a few ideas before beginning? don't criticize yourself. just write it down. if irrelvant, might connect somehow.

At that point, I stopped my brainstorm of "brainstorming." Tomorrow: What next? What's the next step? How do you organize this confusing mess of ideas into a composition?

By the way, how do you start when you're stuck?

All the best. RayS.

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