For all of you who aren't familiar with brainstorming, let's say it's that time when your mind is allowed to wander in close or far away circles, around a certain topic, picking up words, ideas, details, feelings, even sentences that are topic-related. You can do this individually or in a group. No limiting, no censoring information, no wrong answers. Once you have jotted them down, you can start putting the pieces in the right order, therefore, creating a solid framework. Hilarious as it might seem, I used a little brainstorming to write this post about brainstorming.

When do we need a brainstorming framework?

  • when we have problems to solve;
  • when we have no clue whatsoever of what to write about, and we need to do it ASAP;
  • when we are desperately trying to understand and learn something;
  • when we want to see how far our creativity can go.

Rules that you probably won't feel the need to break

  1. Keep negativity out of the processNo one gets to tell anyone else that his word or idea doesn't work. This means you will never get rejected in this game.
  2. No idea is too muchIt will be fun to sort them out and “tame” the wild ones.
  3. Quantity, not qualityOr would you prefer “much is better”? The thinking process is far easier when you turn off the filter, and you don't have to come up with ideas in their final form.
  4. Sharing is caringEveryone is free to expand any ideas that come to the surface, no matter if they are their own or not.
  5. All ideas are equally worthy.
  6. Don't focus, just relax your mind.

5 Brainy techniques

  1. FreewritingYou can do this on paper or from your computer, setting a time or a space limit. You start writing by focusing on a topic, but you are free to jot down anything that comes into your mind, even “I have absolutely no idea what to write”. Although you will have lots of fillers in the end, this freedom of thought will either reveal bits of precious info, or will simply give you a fresh mindset for your writing. 
  2. 3-Perspective TechniqueIf you want to deepen your understanding upon a subject, it might help brainstorming from different perspectives. Try answering questions like: What's the subject? How's it different from others? What's its history? Did it change in time? What does the subject influence and how? etc. This will help you describe the subject, and trace its evolution and relationships.
  3. Similes TechniqueAll you have to do is complete the sentence ____________________ is/was/are/were like _____________________. The first blank belongs to the topic you are focusing on; the second is for your brainstorming answers. You should write them down as they pop up; try to find as many as possible. 
  4. Listing TechniqueYou have to make lists of words and phrases related either to your subject, or to subjects completely opposite to your initial subject.
  5. Mapping TechniqueDo it on paper or by using a mind mapping software. This method will help you put your thoughts in order like no other. Start from your central topic, write down all related words and phrases in a random manner, and later link them according to their role and influence.