Brainstorming Ideas: Tips for Creative Writers

I think we’ve all been there. We are ready to start a new project, but we just can’t land on the perfect idea. There are so many different story lines and interesting plots running through our mind, it’s hard to organize what we actually want to write about. I know I have this problem - a lot. I decided to research and see how other writers have dealt with this issue. Maybe we can all find a new technique to try for the next time this happens.


hand-journal-notebook-34072.jpg

Just Write

It sounds pretty easy and obvious, but sometimes those are the hardest tasks to actually start and finish. Sit down, maybe give yourself a certain amount of time and set a timer, write until the timer goes off or until you’ve run out of thoughts. Take a look at what’s in front of you. Can you find any good plots in there? Maybe you stumbled upon something meaningful, a jumping off point.

Maybe unorganized free writing isn’t a good method for you. Try making a list, use bullet points, stars, smiles, whatever inspires you to keep writing. Write down everything - even if it seems unimportant or silly.

Sometimes a Mind Map can link all your jumbled ideas together into a cohesive time line. Jot down all your thoughts, plots, phrases about characters, a scene you can’t let go of, anything that comes to mind. Now, circle the ones that could go together and link them. This is very strategic and you should probably use a large open space you don’t mind looking a tad bit crazy in. I know post-its and post cards are used for these too. Just imagine the beautiful, sort of organized chaos!


Phone a Friend

Ok, so, you don’t actually have to call your friends. I mean, that is an option. Chat with a fellow writer or someone who is great at cooking up ideas. Chat about all the different plots you’ve been dreaming up and see if they can help you narrow it down. Maybe they can harness your creative energy into the best novel the world has ever seen. Ok, let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

cable-call-communication-33999.jpg

With that being said, who knows what you are capable of until you get started. A friend could be the best person to motivate, challenge and inspire you to keep going. Maybe it’s someone who has been with you since the beginning. I’m sure there are many memories of adventures and mishaps that you can bond about that could lead to yet another great idea.



Use Your Senses

Take in what’s around you. Go for a walk. Let nature speak to you. Take a deep breath and let the calmness wash over you. Let it still all the ideas racing around your mind. Maybe you haven’t liked any of your recent ideas. Let nature boost your creativity.

Sit down where you are. What do you feel? Smell? Taste? Hear? Jot down what comes to you. Use these questions to jog past memories or stories you’ve heard or possibly, hopefully inspire a new idea.

If you’d like to dive deeper into brainstorming, there are a lot of great resources out there. The one that resonated most with me was this blog post by Jamie Goodwin.



Thanks for reading the Chantwood blog. Remember, we are always accepting short story and poetry submissions. We can’t wait to hear from you! Thank you for sharing with us.





Writing a Meaningful Poem: Tips for Creative Writers

Writing a poem can be stressful like any other project. You want to convey your purpose to the audience. It can be challenging to find new ways to express topics that have been long discussed. I know I have hesitations beginning a new poem because I do not want to overuse phrases that people are tired of reading. I did a little research on some ways to help with the typical issues writers run into when starting (and finishing) poetry.




balance-cobblestone-conceptual-279470.jpg

Stay Away from Cliches

It’s easy to fall into the cycle of using popular phrases to express something abstract. If you’ve heard it a million times, so have your readers. It’s best to avoid cliches because people tend to skim over them, and they never feel what you’re trying to convey.

If your poem is about something intangible - love, fear, friendship - try breaking it down into concrete memories and actions that you can describe. Use adjectives and nouns in a way that sets the scene up for the audience. They should be able to see, hear, taste or feel what you’re describing.

Be original! Quirky, surprising and refreshing lines stick with the reader. They will smile and feel connected to your poem. Certainly the next time a friend asks for a suggestion or they’re searching for some new poetry to check out, your name will be on the list.

blank-conifers-crossroad-1578750.jpg

Know Your Purpose

Sometimes we start writing when we’re overwhelmed with feelings and it can be chaotic. Before you start writing, like any other project, know what you’re trying to create with your words. Are you describing the beauty of nature around you? Are you expressing your viewpoint on a subjective topic? Are you writing a love note to your significant other? Whatever the purpose is, go in with a clear path of what you want your audience to take away from your poem.

At this beginning stage, maybe you’re not quite sure where you want your poem to go. Try free writing. Write down all your thoughts, feelings, anything that comes to mind about the subject you’ve settled on. Sometimes when we go back and read this, we find a diamond in the rough. See what I did there? Hey, at least it was in Aladdin.

autumn-backlit-branch-226721.jpg

Use Your Surroundings

The best poems I’ve read describe the most mundane things in the most magical ways. Utilize what’s around you. If you’re on the bus, pay attention to the people near you. Normal relationships can spark a great idea. Maybe someone is having a fight, maybe someone is listening to music and dancing. People watch wherever you go.

Spend time in nature. The beauty of the Earth can inspire meaningful words. Switch up where you write. Spend time with people who bring you joy. Especially if you are writing about an abstract feeling, being with someone who makes you feel loved or happy or whatever emotion you’re trying to convey, can help you create concrete metaphors, similes and descriptions.


During my digging, I found a favorite. If you want more advice on writing poetry. check out Jerz’s Literacy Webblog.

So, get to it! Write that poem. Research that book. Outline that story. Everyone is waiting to hear from you. Don’t forget to submit your work to Chantwood!

Writing Contests: Do Your Research Creative Writers.

Have you ever wondered whether or not you should enter your creative writing in a contest? Chantwood’s very own Amanda O’Dell has the scoop on what you need to know about writing contests.

Writer's Block: The Struggle is Real. Tips for Aspiring Writers

Writer's Block: The Struggle is Real. Tips for Aspiring Writers

Writer’s Block. Both new and established writers have come up against this foe once or twice in our careers. But it doesn’t have to be the monster we sometimes make it out to be. Here are a few tips for aspiring writers on how to beat writer’s block once and for all.

Featured Work: The Greeter

“The Greeter” by Kathy Mirkin is today’s Featured Work. “The Greeter” is touching and thought provoking, the story of a woman who has to look beyond her grief and pain to form an unexpected connection during a difficult time in her life. This story first appeared in Chantwood Magazine Issue 16.

Featured Work: A Single Pearl

Today’s featured work comes to us from author Dawn Lo. “A Single Pearl” is a moving piece, one that deftly weaves the past and the present to give us a glimpse into how a single decision can change the course of a relationship forever. This short story first appeared in Chantwood Magazine Issue 16.

Featured Work: The Art of Tea, Textiles, and Other Commodities

“Ladies of this New World colony, / Leave the gentlemen to stuffy committees. / We all agree that Mother England has built a wall. / The fairer sex will brew Liberty tea and have a homespun ball!” Today’s featured work comes to us from retail pharmacist Jodi Adamson. “The Art of Tea, Textiles, and Other Commodities” was first featured in Chantwood Magazine Issue 16.

Featured Work: Prince Henrik the Fifth

“Eight years into the reign of King Henrik Quillian the Fourth of Prava, a golden, triangular ship descended from the heavens…” This glorious event was witnessed by the citizens of Ferruthe in this short story by Scott Hughes. Read the full story here! From Chantwood Magazine: Issue 14, now available on Kindle Newsstand.