What Is Brainstorming in Writing? [Explained For Writers & Authors]

Your initial idea is not always the one you end up writing about. In addition, you might have a vague idea of what you want to write, but nothing specific. This is where brainstorming comes in.

Brainstorming is a great way to explore ideas and uncover new ideas. It involves generating as many ideas as possible, without worrying about whether they are good or bad. This can lead to more creative thinking, which can be helpful in developing your argument or writing your book.

In this article, we’ll discuss what is brainstorming in writing, some brainstorming techniques, tips for successful brainstorming, and how to make the most of the writing process.

👉New to brainstorming and prewriting? See our simple guide on Prewriting for other prewriting techniques!

what is brainstorming in writing - image of brainstorming mind map of topic "digital currencies"

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What Is Brainstorming In Writing?

Brainstorming is a part of prewriting where you come up with as many ideas as you can. It doesn’t matter if many of the ideas are unreasonable, difficult, or not 100% related to your topic. The main aim here is to generate as many ideas as possible. Relax and don’t worry about being accurate yet.

Brainstorming involves generating a lot of ideas in a short period of time. You can use it to come up with solutions to problems or new ways of thinking.

You can start your brainstorming session as a discussion or dialogue between you and someone else. You can do it in small groups or large ones. But you can also do it alone—just start by writing down any ideas that come to mind. Once you have some ideas, then it’s time to start exploring them further. Ask yourself questions about each of the ideas, such as: How does this idea relate to the topic? What advantages and disadvantages does this idea have?

Fiction authors might for instance brainstorm various endings for the same short story. Here are some guidelines you can follow when brainstorming:

  • Be in an environment that is most conducive for work.
  • Grab a paper and pen. Text editing software will also do.
  • Set a timer.
  • Write down anything that comes to mind.

Brainstorming is not compulsory. It might not be your cup of tea. That said, writers who don’t brainstorm are more likely to get stuck when their single idea doesn’t turn out to be as good as they thought it would be. In addition, some of the ideas you generate during this process can easily become subtopics and subheadings in your final piece.

Categories of Brainstorming In Writing

Before you start brainstorming, it can be helpful to identify which category your topic fits into. Brainstorming techniques are often categorized into three main groups: creative, analytical, and lateral thinking.

  • Creative thinking involves using imagination to come up with new ideas or solutions. It’s a great technique for fiction authors who are stuck on how to create a unique story.
  • Analytical thinking is the opposite of creative thinking. It involves using logic and facts to come up with answers. This type of thinking can be used to solve problems or develop arguments.
  • Lateral thinking, also known as divergent thinking, involves taking existing ideas and altering them slightly. This can be useful for coming up with new solutions that might have been overlooked if you were to just start from scratch.

Brainstorming for individual vs Group

Brainstorming can be done both individually and in a group, but which is better? That depends on the situation.

Brainstorming with a group can be beneficial in terms of generating more and better ideas. However, individual brainstorming is also valuable. It’s important to try out both so that you can get the most out of your process.

As an individual writer or author, try to have a clear goal in mind when you brainstorm Ask yourself what kind of ideas you want to generate and why. It can also help to structure the session with a timer so that you stay focused. When brainstorming in a group, give everyone the chance to contribute and come up with ideas. Encourage people to explore different angles and offer input to the discussion.

What are the various brainstorming techniques In Writing?

When it comes to brainstorming, can be done either individually or as part of a group and there are many different techniques you can use. Here’s a look at some of the more popular ones:

  1. Rapid ideation
  2. Brainwriting
  3. Figure storming
  4. Ideafishing
  5. Mind-mapping
  6. Eidetic image method
  7. Brainstorming games
  8. Online brainstorming, aka brain netting
  9. Round-robin brainstorming
  10. Step-ladder technique
  11. Brainwalking.

These are just some of the techniques you can use for brainstorming. Experiment with different techniques until you find the one that gives the best results.

How to use brainstorming in the prewriting process

Before you start the prewriting process, it’s important to establish a timeline for yourself so that you don’t get too overwhelmed. First, think about the topic you want to write about. Then, take some time to brainstorm. After you’ve got a list of ideas, you can then narrow it down until you find the one that works best for your book or paper.

Once you have done this, it’s then time to start researching and gathering information. This is where the ideas that you came up with during your brainstorming session will be really useful. They can help guide your research process and make sure that it is relevant and in-depth.

Brainstorming Examples In Writing

Let’s look at an example of how we can brainstorm the topic “digital currencies”. Here are some random ideas associated with digital currencies:

  • Internet money
  • Online trading
  • Crypto
  • International trading
  • Government control
  • Investing
  • Bitcoin
  • Crypto apps
  • Exchange rate
  • Blockchain technology
  • Cryptocurrency wallets
  • Fraud protection
  • Security measures
  • Smart contracts
  • Decentralized currency

Now that we have a list of ideas related to digital currencies, it’s easier to draw connections between them and come up with a structure for our book.

For example, blockchain technology could be used to discuss the security and fraud protection of digital currencies. Exchange rate can be used to talk about international trading, while smart contracts could be used to discuss how they are used in online trading.

After we do this, we can then proceed to structure our work in terms of chapters and subtopics. For instance, we could start by discussing what digital currencies are and how they work, then move on to the different types of digital currencies available, followed by the risks associated with investing in digital currencies, and finally finish off by looking at the potential benefits of digital currencies.

So, you can see that by brainstorming the topic, we have come up with a rough structure for our work which will help us stay focused while writing. This saves us time and energy in the long run, as it is much easier to write when you already know the structure and flow of your argument.

Brainstorming Exercises In Writing

Now it’s your turn to try out a brainstorming exercise. Think of a topic or story that you are interested in and then write down as many ideas related to it as you can. Thereafter, take some time to look through the list and draw connections between them so that you can come up with a structure for your book.

Let’s see some exercises for our next brainstorming practice:

Set a timer for ten minutes. Brainstorm the following until each timer goes off:

  • The national unemployment rate.
  • Your country’s president.
  • Disney World
  • Your favorite film.
  • Game of Thrones

Final Notes on Brainstorming In Prewriting

Brainstorming is an important part of the prewriting process and should not be overlooked. It helps generate a wealth of ideas which can then be used to create a structure for your book. Moreover, it saves time in the long run by providing you with a roadmap for your book. Experiment with different techniques until you find the one that yields the most results.

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