For my brainstorming session, I can do an Internet search for writing prompts or I can use one of my pocket muse books or the cat naps book that I got for Christmas. I can choose a number and make that the number the page I can open any book to and read the page. Something could pop out of that.
I just used the random feature in excel and chose a page that way. I got page seventy-four. In the cat naps book I got this quote: “Kittens are born with their eyes shut. They open them in about six days, take a look around, the close them again for the better part of their lives.” – Stephen Baker. It’s a cute quote but I don’t think I’ll get a piece of writing out of it.
The Pocket Muse book I have handy doesn’t have page numbers. So I opened it at random – both pages had pictures only – windows. That’s an option, I guess. I could write about anything to do with windows — window shopping, buying an actual window, what’s outside my window, windows of opportunity. There’s a whole list of things.
Page 74 of Meditations of John Muir has this: How boundless the day. the meat of it is on page 75, which is about a stormy sky in the mountains. I have little experience with mountains. Still, I think this is a valid brainstorming technique. Page 74 in my Oxford English mini dictionary gives me the words between cause and celiac, which is the American spelling of coelac, a disease causing the inability to digest gluten. So at least I learned something today. Sometimes brainstorming works and sometimes it doesn’t.
I just thought of another brainstorming method. It’s a variation on the one I already mentioned, but it is based on a book code. You take two random numbers. The first one is a page number, say 90, the second is 44. The second number is the word. Take a book, any book, and turn to the page number you chose, count the words and look at the word corresponding to the second number. That’s your word. Use it in a sentence, write a short piece about it. it’s your choice. For the example above, I used my Oxford English Mini-dictionary and got the word “wooden.” I can write several sentences with that word in it. “The actor’s performance was wooden.” There’s one. “She used a wooden spoon to mix her cookie dough.” There’s another one. I’m sure that I could write more, but you get the idea.
The point is that you can play these little games to generate ideas. some games are more fun than others, like my idea of a few weeks ago of making silly sentences out of random words. so if you are stuck for things to write, you can try these ideas or make up your own. Me, I’m going to try to write a paragraph about wooden things.