A hand-drawn mind map

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This is a guest post by Dan Northern from CollegeThrive.com. Collegethrive.com is the place to come for all of the resources, tips, and advice that you need to make it through college

It is the be-all end-all method that conquers writer’s block before it even starts, that tightens the lightbulb in your head when you can’t seem to think, that opens up the flood gates to your creative flow. I am referring here, to brainstorming.

We all learned how to effectively brainstorm when we were children, and have hopefully continued using the tactic throughout our lives. Sometimes though, the simple method slips our mind and we are left with nothing but an empty head. So today, I would like to raise my glass to the sometimes forgotten, always helpful, brainstorming session.

The Usefulness of Brainstorming
If you have ever experienced a severe case of writer’s block or had any other form of mental barrier, then you must know just how difficult it can be to break the ice. Luckily, you are equipped with the perfect tool for the job, the power of association, brainstorming.
A good brainstorming session can:

  • Remove a mental block.
  • Quickly pump out ideas.
  • Open your mind to a wave of creativity.
  • Provide you with new ways of thinking.
  • Allow your brain to link words and ideas that it normally would not.

Popular Methods
When it comes time to brainstorm, everyone has their own preference on how it’s done. Some like it random, while others like it organized. Here are some of the most popular methods.

  • Lists – The most basic form of brainstorming. It can also be the most unorganized since the mind seems to jump a lot from idea to idea. (Not always a bad thing).
  • Grouping – This method is like a list, but more organized because like-items are grouped together, becoming more structured.
  • Mind Mapping – If you really want to have a look at your ideas, mind mapping is the perfect way to visually connect them.

The randomness of brainstorming is the perfect way to harness new ideas and connect them together. A simple concept that ignites the thought process and leaves you free from mental frustration. Never underestimate the power of association.
What do you do when you have a mental block and can’t seem to think straight?

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