Friday, May 07, 2021
Creativity

How To Brainstorm Better Creative Ideas

I have had to learn pretty quickly how to brainstorm better creative ideas. I gave myself a platform for it, and set it as a discipline to fulfill it.

When you have a passion for art, and have no platform for it, your mind is rife with ideas. One after another, you think

“If I was a writer, I’d write THIS story.”
“If I was a photographer, I’d take a picture of THIS.”
If I was… I would.

Yet, as soon as you give your brain the platform the ego craves – the tap runs dry. The pressure on top of the brainstorm fruit squeezes out all the ideas… I still maintain that writer’s block is fake, and that we simply get bored of our own creativity.

Without a platform, the brain gets to truly imagine, because it believes things won’t come to fruition. The brain is able to explore further, without the pressure of our own expectations.

How can we maintain a flow of creative ideas, and brainstorm better – indefinitely?

Put Thoughts In Writing

The first rule of good brainstorming is to put as much as possible on paper. A left field, fringe idea this time could be the right idea next time. If I keep everything internal, chances are it won’t be there when I try to return to it.

I have two methods for putting things in writing – Mind mapping, and Journaling

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a popular tool, and when used regularly and creatively – it can be exponentially beneficial. The practice is simple – you start with a word or topic, and begin branching. If you start with the creative idea of “How to Brainstorm Better” you can branch to ‘Mind mapping’. Another branch to ‘Journaling.’

You can see how I brainstormed this article…

Journaling

Keeping a daily journal has changed how I think about most things. And by that I mean, things usually get thought through a little more.

The time it takes to perform the action of writing a thought down, usually gives you long enough to actually think about it more by the end of the sentence. If you are a fellow writer, this may also take form of editing your words as you put them down – but that takes a separate focus and practice to stop doing.

Letting The Ideas 'Breathe'

This is a new practice I am working on lately. I’ve incorporated brainstorming directly into a meditation practice. I try to meditate as much as I can throughout my week, but I have been trying to have at least one brainstorming meditation in that time.

This means sitting down with a topic, or concept in mind. You close your eyes, and try to envision your breathing as an object. Expanding with an inhale, and shrinking on an exhale. When you are comfortable with that, you can set your concept directly in the middle of this expanding object.

As you inhale, let your thinking expand. Explore vague ideas, even if they seem wholly unrelated. On an exhale, scale your thinking back to your original concept. Ideas worth thinking about may shrink back with it. Upon another inhale, explore vagueness even further – breathing deeper.

Repeating this process for a full meditation, until you’re satisfied – and then head directly to your journal from earlier. Let your exploration dump onto the page and see what you found.

You cannot expect a clear idea doing this once, but doing this multiple times over the last few weeks – I’ve been able to outline and begin working on a draft of my first Novel.

Embrace Every Idea

The deeper meaning to my meditation practice, has been to stay aware of my relationship with my thinking. Every thought has space, and can exist on its own – but they are given energy by being interacted with.

If we interact with our negative thoughts, we give them space to grow. Acknowledged, and allowed to fade is the calmest way for me to deal with negative thoughts. This trait gets to bleed into brainstorming.

Good ideas can be expanded on and stored for later, whereas a bad idea can simply be acknowledged and allowed to fade. Without shaming yourself for having it.

Anthony McGuigan
September 2020

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