Posted by: nancyisanders | September 15, 2010

Brainstorm: Word Wall

Short of ideas for a story you’re writing? Does your brain feel like a sieve with all the ideas drained out? Here’s a tip to help you brainstorm and get those creative juices flowing:

Make a Word Wall.

A Word Wall is used by early elementary teachers in the classroom to help children get ideas and learn words that are related to the main theme. For instance, if they are learning about farm animals, the teacher posts a picture of a barn on a bulletin board. Then, she posts words underneath the picture such as: cow, sheep, pig, hen, and duck. When children are writing and get stuck for ideas, they look at the word wall and choose words from the list that they want in their story.

You can make a portable Word Wall that’s as fun as it is practical. Get a file folder. On the front, decorate it with a picture of the theme of your article or book. For instance, I made a portable Word Wall for my cat, Humphrey, because I like to write about him in various markets. (Humphrey just made his published debut in Clubhouse Jr.!)

Then, open up the file folder. On the inside write any word or phrase that comes to mind about the theme of your article or book. For example, my Word Wall for Humphrey includes the following words and phrases: purrfect, pawsitively, paws/pause, nine lives, cat-a-tonic, cat-alogue, tuna fish, etc.

Keep adding to your Word Wall when you think of more words and phrases. Then, next time you sit down and get stuck writing your manuscript, pull out that Word Wall and see how it helps jump-start your creativity!


  1. What a great idea, Nancy. I found a bunch of pechee folders tucked away from when the kids were in school during our move and have been wondering what to use them for. Now, I know.

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