Posted by: nancyisanders | October 13, 2011


A lot of writers forget to take time to brainstorm before they sit down to write.

Then they wonder why they face writer’s block and stare at a blank computer when they carve out time to write.

Brainstorming is the answer!

Before I sit down to write my next section in a book or before I write an article or magazine story, I take time to brainstorm.

For instance, today I spent the bulk of my day brainstorming a curriculum lesson I’m writing. I got the entire lesson mapped out so tomorrow when I sit down to write, I know where I’m going.

What did I do to brainstorm? Here are the basic steps I take and you can take these, too. Try this before you write your next scene or next project.

Step 1: I surround myself with reference books or Internet articles on my topic. I look through these and jot down ideas that come to me. For example, before I wrote my most recent fiction story that just came out in a top kid’s magazine, I spent time reading about Australia. That’s because my story was set in Australia. Just reading about it gave me lots of ideas such as to include Eucalyptus tea, kangaroos, and vocabulary words like “mum” and “walkabout.”

Step 2: I list points I want to make or topics I want to cover. Then I read other published works that cover these same points and see how they handle these same topics. I jot ideas down on these various points that come to mind.

Step 3: I brainstorm ideas to build the story from beginning to end, so I know the basic structure I want to aim for.

Step 4: I ask lots of “what if?” questions to imagine different possibilities for my story or article, jot down various thoughts, and then pick my favorites.

So next time you’re getting ready to write, be sure to take time to brainstorm first. Your writing experience will never be the same!


  1. Good suggestions for brainstorming, Nancy. Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy hearing your ideas. Hugs, Ev

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