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.


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!


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.