It never fails. You are driving along and suddenly think of the most amazing idea for a story. It is brilliant. But thanks to distractions encountered along the way, by the time you get home that amazing story idea has vanished into thin air.

Or, how annoying is it to sit down, ready to fire off a great essay, and absolutely nothing—zilch—comes to mind? You sit there staring at the blank document as if in a trance with nary a topic or vague idea of what to write about.

Do not fret! When these moments of blank space occur, there are some excellent brainstorming techniques to utilize that can help jumpstart the creative process. Continue reading to learn the best tips for how to brainstorm a story.

How to Brainstorm a Story: Top Tips

Idea generation doesn’t need to be a struggle! For writers who may feel hopelessly bereft of plot ideas to write about, review these 10 tips to start the creative juices flowing:

Tip #1: Draw a Word Map

Create a word map during a brainstorming session to help shake some story ideas loose. Grab a piece of paper and write a word in the center and circle it. For example, you might want to explore ideas around the topic of homesteading. Write homesteading inside that center circle, and then create tangents around that topic pointing to associated words. These might be country living, simple life, raising chickens, homeschooling, and gardening. From there, let the ideas flow and soon you will have an enjoyable story about moving to the country.

Tip #2: Consider the Reader

Write with a reader persona in mind. What kinds of topics would that persona be interested in reading about? What kinds of storylines would excite them? When you write with the reader in mind it helps propel the storytelling. Imagine you are in a room together and you are narrating it to them.

Tip #3: Free-Write

Too often writers attempt to force the creative process. Free-writing is a technique that allows ideas to emerge organically. Simply open a new document and start to type anything that comes to mind… musings, dreams, concerns, interests, whatever pops into your head. Don’t think, just type.

Tip #4: Use Writing Prompts

One way to bust out of writer’s block is to use writing prompts. These are creative writing ideas that can be accessed via writing prompt generators. These apps provide a kaleidoscope of story prompts. Let your imagination run wild and you will soon be amazed at just how creative you really are. Go to: or

Tip #5: People Watch

For rich sources of storytelling inspiration, find a location where there is ample people-watching potential. A shopping mall, an art gallery, a popular park, or even a grocery store can provide a bounty of brainstorming ideas for your next novel.

Tip #6: Read!

The most talented writers are usually voracious readers. Do yourself a favor and consume as many books as you have time for. The practice of reading expands your mind (and vocabulary) and inspires new ideas for your next story.

Tip #7: Character Build

Try starting your new story with the main characters in mind instead of the plot. Develop the characters’ personalities, descriptions, backgrounds, and endearing flaws in great detail, and then let their story emerge.

How to Brainstorm for an Essay: Top Tips

Brainstorming for an essay can be a slightly different process than for other types of literature. Follow these tips for how to effectively brainstorm for an essay:

Tip #8: Set a Goal for Yourself

Because essay writing requires a more condensed process, it helps to set some benchmarks for yourself, as well as a completion deadline. Setting a goal for the essay helps to keep the writing momentum moving forward.

Tip #9: Investigate Adjacent Academia

Find inspiration from academics in the field in which you are writing. Broaden your own knowledge base by reviewing essays and academic works from other authors who have written on your subject material.

Tip #10: Re-Read Past Work

Repurpose an earlier essay by diving deeper into an interesting topic that you had previously only touched on. Your current essay provides an exciting opportunity to investigate the subject further.

With these tips, hopefully, the brainstorming process won’t be too much of a hassle. You have hundreds of brilliant ideas ready to come forth if you unlock your creativity!

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The publishing professionals at Gatekeeper Press are here to guide your writing process. We offer professional services for authors including editing and proofreading, cover design, book illustrations, and distribution. Reach out today for more information!

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