Brainstorming Tips

As I mentioned last month, I’m working on a nonfiction project on my writing process. I’m in the outlining stage right now, but it’s made me really think about how I get things done and how I chase the muse or whatever you’d like to call it. And I’ve noticed there are a few different things that get my mind on track, and I figured I’d share them.

There are a few brainstorming tactics I used to get my mind working in the right direction and help me get into writing mode whenever I sit down to a project. The main things I do are scan Pinterest, make photo collages, create a playlist on Spotify, and mockup my cover design on Canva.

Pinterest is a new thing I’ve been using only on the last book, but I think it’s pretty neat. When I’m plotting a new book, I don’t know everything that’s going to happen yet, but I know the general theme or mood. I then get on Pinterest and search those terms, like “spooky” or “serial killer” or whatever it might be, and I save my favorite images.

Making photo collages is just old school Pinterest. I find images on google that also fit the theme or mood of my book. Or, as happened in one of recent projects, I took pictures of places that made me think of my book. For example, I have a picture of some random house by my in-laws because it caught my eye. I print out my favorite pictures to keep in my binder for reference.

The playlist thing is also fairly new in my process, but I love it. Same as the pictures, I follow a theme or tone. I like to think of it as my book’s soundtrack and I listen to it to get in the writing mood. I also add to this over the course of writing the book as new songs come to mind that fit with the story.

And once I feel like I have a good idea of how the story is going to go, I play around on Canva and mockup a cover. I have the free account, so it’s nothing fancy by any means, but it gets the job done. And once I have a cover, I save it as the background on my phone so I see it all the time and it keeps my mind focused on the project at random times throughout the day, so my subconscious has something useful to focus on. A bonus of this is being able to give my cover designer the basic idea of what I want without being vague and weird and awkward. Ha.

Those are my favorite brainstorming tips. They get me really excited about my new project before I even start writing it and it helps me fight any touch of writer’s block that I might get throughout the process because I look at my Pinterest boards or listen to the playlist and suddenly, I’m in the mood to explore my fictional world.