Most of us write alone without talking about or discussing the ideas we communicate through our writing with anyone. We identify what we want to write about, research about it, create drafts, crosscheck, revise, edit and what not, all by ourselves, without much help from anyone else. However, writing need not be such a solitary activity all the time. In fact, communicating and working with other writers can transform us into better writers. If you are writing a scientific report (medical writing) or an essay, brainstorming can prove to be a very useful activity. It helps in generating new ideas, focusing on the most important ones, and organizing them to compose a well thought-out and a well-written document.
Brainstorming groups can be small or large. Small groups usually comprise of 2 to 3 writers whereas large groups may comprise of an entire project or office team. The brainstorming session must be started by introducing everyone to the subject for which the session was called. This must be followed by inviting all participants to put forward any ideas they have regarding the subject and how the topic can be approached. Never reject any idea without thinking about it in more detail.
A brainstorming session is most productive when the session is open to the thoughts of every participant and without them having the fear of being criticized. Suggestions can be evaluated for pros and cons later, but the session itself must focus on generating as many ideas as possible with one idea or thought leading to another.
This makes brainstorming more like a freewriting session enabling us to discover new ideas and directions without inducing the fear of making errors or appearing silly.
Writing It Down
It is important to take notes during the session, but it must be done carefully. Writing too much during the session can limit your exchange of ideas with the group, so keep it to the minimum and use your best judgement to write only what is important. Immediately after the session is over, think about all the suggestions or ideas that were thrown at you and write them down in detail. This will help you get started with your first draft.
Practice Makes Perfect
Brainstorming is an art in itself which comes with experience, so one must not get disappointed should the first few brainstorming sessions turn out to be unproductive. Some people take time to open up, to start talking or stop criticizing, so expect that. The aim of the session must be to stimulate thinking and to encourage the generation of new ideas (no matter how absurd they are), not to curb them.