Timed Writing for Brainstorming

Timed writing is not just for exercise. It can help you brainstorm as well. The principle is the same whether you are free writing or brainstorming. You just set a timer and jot down ideas as they come to you. Done correctly, you will have a good foundation of ideas to try for any project, writing or not. I don’t know why it works for me, but it does seem to. Having that immediate deadline spurs my thoughts. Of course, there are limits. Sometimes you might not produce anything worthwhile – that’s ok. if that happens, just relax. Free write a paragraph and then try another timed session.

Varying the length of time can help as well. Start with five minutes and increase by five minutes up to a half hour. Anything longer loses the edge of the immediacy. You don’t want to dull the edge, just set a time limit to come up with ideas that doesn’t let you judge the ideas. Create a numbered list with room for ten items, or more if you choose. It’s all up to you. Set the timer to a time that will allow you time to write your list and try to get ten items listed before the timer goes off. At least one of those ten items you list will turn out to be the answer you are looking for, whether you are trying to come up with topics for writing or brainstorming the answer to a problem. The trick is not to give yourself time to judge your responses.

Getting the right answer or the perfect topic is not the point here. The point is that you need options and you need to generate them. That’s all there is to it. Your first option is not always your best option. Neither is the second. Sometimes it is the last option that you write down, or an option in the middle. Generate the ideas first and then judge them. That’s what the timer does for you. It takes away the judgment time. Sometimes an idea may seem too crazy or out-there to work, but that crazy, out-there idea, may be the perfect fit for your writing needs or problem.

Timed writing or brainstorming is a way to access your unconscious mind which is always working. That’s why sleeping on a problem works. Your unconscious mind will process the issue and provide an answer. So get a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil, or sit down at your computer. Set a timer. Start writing. You will be amazed at what you come up with.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in General Opinion, Writing Techniques

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 244 other subscribers
© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
%d bloggers like this: