Friday, July 15, 2011

Unconventional writing tools

I can't get along without my laptop and some attempt at organization, but, there are some other things I use to unfreeze my mind when it seems locked up while writing.

I'm pretty sure I am a visual learner. So, I use Google Images a lot to see images and photos. For instance, I used it to figure out what 1850s farm equipment looked like, hair styles from the 1830s, fashions of that era, Civil War uniforms and flags and so on. Not every hit is what I am looking for, but some are useful. Just having a whole array of pictures to browse is a great help.

I listen to You Tube sometimes if I can think of the name of a song that fits where I am.

My favorite, though, is doodling. I can doodle anywhere and often do. This helps me picture characters and settings and block out scenes. By that I mean if it were a stage play rehearsal, the characters hit their marks and repeat their lines. Doodling helps me solidify their appearance in my mind. Does he have long or shot hair? Straight or wavy? Is she tall? Petite? Dressy or tomboyish? Sometimes I jot down a few words, too.

For me, doodling has another unexpected benefit -- for some reason drawing while listening helps me remember what I hear.

This is a win-win if doodling in church!

What are your favorite techniques for brainstorming? See you all after work!


  1. Oh, I love learning styles and techniques. You probably are a visual learner, but you could be a bit kinesthetic, too. Doing something physically (the doodling) to help you to concentrate has been known to be a technique for those who are kinesthetic learners.

    Anyway, I do a combo in the "thinking" stage--I have to move (kinesthetic) while talking to myself (auditory.) I use the visual thing much, much later. To really get it into my problem-solving area, I have to do this or "I can't think!"

    Love this post.

  2. Visual cues are my favorite triggers for writing. For my last novel I used pictures of celebrities for each character so that I could fully describe how they looked. I print out the pics and put them in a scrapbook and/or storyboard. It's a lot of fun and a huge help!

  3. I really like the story-board and-or scrapbook idea. Cool! Crystal, I can just imagine you walking and talking your way through brain storming. Likewise cool!