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6 Brainstorming Techniques for Writing: Try These Now and Start Writing Faster

Photo showing a woman from above who is working at a laptop. There is a canned drink on her right and she is busy at work, using the best brainstorming techniques for writing.
Be prepared to jot down writing ideas whenever you get them. (Photo: janeb13)

Many people find the most challenging part of writing is thinking about what to write and then writing that first sentence.

Have you ever just sat and stared at the computer screen—knowing your deadline is looming—and couldn’t figure out how to start?

You need a brainstorming session.

Brainstorming often entails involving multiple people to discuss, draw out, and write down ideas to solve a problem or create something new. However, many people go solo when brainstorming techniques for writing without asking for help from others.

Whether you’re writing marketing collateral, a business white paper, a sales letter, or a book, you’ll need to brainstorm several ideas to go about writing your content. However, once you find your topic, you can narrow your focus, and the writing starts to flow easier.

That being said, here are some of the best brainstorming techniques for writing that you can start using right now to get the creative juices flowing—so you can get your writing done quicker.

Ready? Let’s go!

In a rush? Get this article as a PDF guide so you won’t miss these tips!

1. Try Reading

Yes, reading is one of the best brainstorming techniques for writing.

Think about it: Ideas don’t usually come to us in a vacuum—they come to us when we engage our minds with other thoughts and ideas.

The human brain works best when it combines the world it sees with our thoughts, experiences, knowledge, and feelings. This process is the basis for creating new ideas.

Keep in mind, though, that you’re reading with the purpose of brainstorming. You don’t want to read too profoundly or become engrossed in the material. Flow in and out of the material so you can stop to jot down your thoughts and ideas.

Woman engrossed in a book. The cover says, "What Would Google Do?" and it's written by Jeff Jarvis. She is about to turn the page.
Reading can help you come up with writing ideas—but don’t read too heavily. Flow in and out of the material. Take notes. Get inspired. (Photo: Christina @ wocintechchat.com)

2. Listen to Music or Other Media

Reading isn’t the only way to spark your imagination. People learn in different ways. Some people are visual learners; others are auditory learners.

You can try something different to get inspiration, such as:

  • Listening to podcasts
  • Listening to music
  • Watching movies
  • Looking at art
  • Playing a game
  • Watching documentaries

Many people wonder if the subject matter needs to be close to what you are trying to write about.

The answer is that it’s up to you.

  • Some people find that they need to be stimulated by content related to their writing topic.
  • Others find using something totally unrelated gives them a different perspective.

You never know where inspiration will come from, so try both of these brainstorming techniques for writing and see which works best for you.

(Me? I’m a music guy. Listening to anything from Neil Young’s “Ditch Trilogy” will always get me primed for writing.)

Once you’ve used these writing brainstorming techniques and completed your writing project, you’ll need someone to proofread and edit your work. That’s where I and my hand-picked team at Super Copy Editors can help you. We can ensure that your writing project is error-free and polished to perfection. Learn more about how you can save embarrassment and look amazing with our business proofreading services.

Photo of girl on a beach, focused and listening to music through her headphones.
Listening to music can be a way to brainstorm ideas for your writing project. (Photo: sweetlouise)

3. Talk to People

One of the original brainstorming techniques for writing is bouncing ideas off other people.

Get together with some friends or work colleagues and talk about the project you’re writing about, writing down any feedback you might get.

Brainstorming collaboratively works well because it allows you to build on other people’s knowledge and skillsets. Talking about your project or just talking about unrelated topics will most likely generate ideas you wouldn’t have imagined on your own.

4. Freewriting

Use a technique called freewriting. Freewriting involves writing down any thoughts or ideas that come to mind.

  • Set a timer (for 10 minutes, for example) or maximum word count (500 words).
  • Then start writing.
  • Keep writing until you feel you’re no longer writing anything contributing to solving your problem.

You might not end up with precisely what you want, but you should have enough to get started.

Even if all you have is filler for the rest of your content, at least you’ve created something—and now you’re on the right track.

Don’t Miss: 5 Techniques to Help You Get Over Writer’s Block

Image of a quote that says, "Read. Watch. Listen. You never know where writing inspiration and ideas will come from."

5. Write Everything Down

You never know when inspiration will strike. Sometimes the best ideas come to you when you’re not trying to think of them.

For this reason, always carry around a notepad and pen, or use a notepad app on your phone.

The more you write down your thoughts, the more ideas will come to you. So make writing down your thoughts a habit.

While many of these thoughts won’t become anything, some will be exactly what you’re looking for.

Don’t Miss: 11 Topics Any Business Can Use in Its Writing

Photo of a notepad with scribbles on it and little drawings, with a balled-up piece of blue paper and a pen on top of it.
Make writing down your thoughts a habit. The more you write, the more ideas will come to you. (Photo: fancycrave1)

6. Word Association

The sixth of the brainstorming techniques for writing is word association.

Word association involves taking the root word or the central concept of what you want to write about and finding similar words to it.

For example, if you need to write about birds, you would write down all the words or phrases you can think of that are associated with birds, such as wings, eagle, fly, birdseed, condor, flying away from home, wingspan, freedom, nesting, and feathers.

Here is another word association brainstorming technique for writing:

  • Start with your root topic word.
  • Write down the first phrase that comes to mind.
  • Think of the word you just wrote down and then write down the next word that comes to mind.
  • Keep going until inspiration strikes.

Don’t forget! Download “6 Brainstorming Techniques for Writing: Try These Now and Start Writing Faster” to keep it handy and take action on it. Click here to download it now.

Final Thoughts on Brainstorming Techniques for Writing

These tips will help you get over your writer’s block and return to writing.

The hardest part about writing is getting that first good idea to take hold, but once you’ve brainstormed and found something to write about, the rest is easy.

Use these brainstorming techniques and get your writing project done quicker. Once your project is completed, the next step is to ensure it is appropriately proofread, formatted, and edited to avoid spelling, grammar, or tonal errors.

Trust the professionals at Super Copy Editors to find all the little details and mistakes that you might miss. We have been editing and proofreading writing content of all shapes and sizes for years, so we know strictly what to look for and how to make your content sound perfect. Get your free proofreading quote today.

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Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Hi, I’m Dave Baker, founder and copy chief of Super Copy Editors. I have more than 25 years of professional proofreading and copy editing experience, including work for The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where I shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes. At Super Copy Editors, we’re passionate about helping agencies, marketing teams, and education companies refine and polish their text to give them confidence and ensure success. Learn more here.

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