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Boosting Your Creativity in an Electronic Age

By Lydia McGee
On September 30, 2017

Freewriting can help increase creativity 
Photo By https://www.thebalance.com

It must be a combination of our eight second attention spans or the enormous variation of entertainment possibilities, but it is incredibly easy to lose the creative spark when we need to write. Brainstorming with a freewriting component will help unleash what is already buried in your subconscious.

    John Bointnott, journalist and digital consultant for Inc.com, recommends ditching the trendy apps (more screens for our tired eyes) and to go with some classic approaches to brainstorming. “It’s all about finding what works best for you, taking into account learning styles, preferences, and any props you might have available. The next time [you]…can’t move forward, try out one of these traditional approaches. You might be surprised by how effective they (still) are.”

    One of the best techniques to open the thought floodgates is freewriting, or “blind writing,” as Bointnott terms it. Basically, this technique includes setting a specific amount of time to write. It can be anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. In this timeframe, the writer jots down every thought, sentence, quote, idea, or image that comes to mind. The best way to do this is to stay within the boundaries of the topic of the project, presentation, paper, poem, or whatever needs to be accomplished.

    The most important part of free-writing is the fact that you cannot stop once you have begun. The time limit creates a sense of urgency (so you will be motivated to produce), and also gives you a veritable mental exercise in idea generating (since you cannot stop writing at the start of the timer).

    Bointnott recommends not stopping at freewriting, however. Freewriting is a great way to generate an outline of useful ideas and helpful phrases, but another way to approach a difficult assignment or overcome a roadblock is what Bointnott calls reverse storming. It could also be described as framing your argument from your opponent’s view. Rafiq Elmansy from Designorate puts it this way: “Reverse brainstorming provides unusual thinking methods to reach solutions that ordinary thinking methods do not achieve. As creative thinking requires a special flow of ideas, reverse brainstorming can help teams to create using unique thinking methods.”

    This method requires the writer to take the given project and to create its antithesis. Essentially, once this is finished, this massive list emerges of all the negative possibilities and all the bad angles and all the cons of your argument.

    After this point, all the energy that you have to expend is spent “convert[ing] the negative ideas into positive ideas,” as Chauncey Wilson from Designing the User Experience at Autodesk website points out.

    We now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish and so many screens to occupy our time and engage our minds. It can be a challenge to be creative when it feels like everything has already been written.

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