The following is a guest post from Kam of Campfire Chic. She is my #30Lists partner-in-crime and my closest friend that I’ve met online. She’ll be joining us in September for Onward and Upward 2012, as an alumnus of the 2011 workshop. Kam recently released her first ebook THREE-SIXTY-FIVE and you can read my review here.
Lemon and Raspberry is a fantastic resource for turning ideas into projects and possibly even finding and working on your great work. Amy is full of ideas and does a great job of turning the best ideas into projects.
But what if you have trouble coming up with ideas, let alone great ideas?
It’s called brainstorming, and as corporate or elementary school as it sounds, brainstorming can be a great thing. But like other great things (Nutella), when it is taken too far (like my fried Nutella wontons), you may be worse off than before.
So let’s talk a little about how you can curate and/or refine your brainstorming skills so you can more efficiently go from idea to project to finished.
Types of brainstorming styles you may want to try
Just start listing the words that are flowing around in your head. Maybe you’re thinking of a name for a blog post, a tagline for your website, or a team name for an upcoming trivia night at the local brewery. Just start writing.
A spider web…sticky, gross, usually inhibited by a spider…but what I’m talking about is the structure of a spider web. The center of the web is the hub…the big idea, the foundation for an online class, the theme of an ebook, the driving force behind a week of themed blog posts, or the goal of having a dedicated work/craft space in your home. It’s the center and focus of the whole deal.
You get the idea…your ideas are organized in a visual representation that will help move from idea to project.
This was my favorite way to start writing papers when I was in school. This exercise is for somebody looking to put down more than the words floating around in their heads…they have sentences…they have small paragraphs. This stuff may not have connections, or maybe there are missing steps, but it needs to be written down…and an unedited stream of consciousness brainstorm may be what is needed. Just “vomit” up all of the ideas and get them down on paper (digital or real). I like to do this when start a long blog post or working on copy for #30Lists. I can go back later and format, delete, add, and maybe even start over.
I have lots of ideas floating around my head, I’m a Pieces through and through when it comes to daydreaming. The trouble I have is capturing those ideas, and working through them to a finished product. I’m not always a finisher, and to be honest, not all of my ideas deserve to see the finish line. When I know it is time to brainstorm, I usually go to my default: Lists.
If I am coming up with a name for something, I write down all of the words and strong keywords that I feel encompass the project. For example, I was working on coming up with a team name for the San Diego Color Run recently and needed a fun name for a co-ed team of people who don’t know one another. I started listing words that had to do with color in hopes of coming up with some sort of fun alteration. After about 10 minutes, Tough Ombre was born. I did the same “word dump” to come up with the name for Campfire Chic.
When I’m brainstorming for blog posts, I pull up my editorial calendar and take a look at what I already have on there. Pull out my list of blog post ideas (in fact, I have 365 blog post ideas for you) and start filling in the blanks and emailing myself with “homework” to do while on my lunch break at work…the homework being drafting the posts.
Say you are a blogger who is going out of town for a week. You would like to have a week’s worth of blog posts scheduled and it is too late to request guest blog posts from your blogging friends. Your task is to come up with 5 blog topics that you would like to write about…sounds easy, right? Try to stay away from “Wordless Wednesday” “Favorite Things Fridays” or other content-less types of posts when brainstorming. What did you come up with?
Where do you go from here?
Brainstorming and generating ideas is a fantastic start. But it is only the start…the next thing you need to do is to act on those ideas and eventually finish the idea, if there is a finish.
Here are some resources that may interest you:
- Setting SMART Goals
- 365 ideas for blog posts, scrapbook pages, & art journal entries eresource
- The Finishing Manifesto ebook
- Onward and Upward 2012 – the online workshop hosted by Amy!
Kam is the blogger behind Campfire Chic. When she isn’t brainstorming new blog posts, adventures to take, or ways to survive her day job, Kam enjoys listening to podcasts, reading comics, and eating carbs. Her new ebook THREE SIXTY-FIVE has 365 ideas for blog posts, scrapbook pages, and art journal entries. The book is designed with you in mind and gets you brainstorming even more! Buy it today.