One of the most frustrating things that happens to me as a writer is having a bunch of ideas in my head with no clue how to get them out.
I once heard that feeling described like this:
It’s like having a lake in your head. And you want to get that lake out, but all you have is a teaspoon to help you.
This feeling can be especially frustrating if you’re trying to plan out a story. So here are 7 ways to get those ideas out of your mind and into something tangible:
1. Say them Out Loud
Sometimes it can be difficult to put ideas down in writing. But it can be so easy to talk about them, especially when there isn’t any pressure on you.
If you’re like me, and you tend to ramble when you speak, you might want to use this to your advantage.
Grab a recording device of some sort, or use a speech to text program, go to a private and peaceful place, and start talking about your ideas.
Don’t think about others listening to you speak, this is for you and only you.
Speak until you have nothing more to say. And remember to save what you recorded, so you can go back and reference it at a later time.
2. Illustrate them
One fun thing to do is to illustrate your ideas.
A way of doing this could be through comics and cartoons of what you want to happen in your story.
If you’re more artistically inclined, or have a solid visual idea in your head, you can also turn your settings, characters, and even scenes into concept art.
Don’t worry about your skill level though. This is a way to get your ideas out, not an art competition.
3. Make them Messy
Do whatever works for you when you’re trying to get your ideas out.
If scribbling your thoughts down haphazardly on a scrap piece of paper is the only way you can get this information written down, then do it.
If you can only write by typing wildly and making a plethora of grammatical and typographical errors, do it.
You can always organize it later.
4. Make them Organized
Maybe you’re like me, and the only way you can get information out is by organizing it into sections first.
When planning out a story I like to have a section for characters, which is broken down into subsections for each individual character (and each character has their own subsection). I’ll have a section for plot, a section for subplots, and a section for themes, so on and so forth.
I need to have these structures in place before I can start filling in the information, because my brain doesn’t handle chaos well.
If you’re like me, and you need an organized structure in place, then I suggest using a bullet journal, or a series of text files to get your ideas out.
5. Write them Down on Paper
Sometimes I find it a lot easier to get my thoughts down on paper rather than using a computer to record them.
There’s a completely different tactile experience when it comes to holding a pen and placing it on the paper, feeling the texture as you make markings on the page. This tactile experience can help your mind see things from a different angle, especially if you’ve been using a computer for the past while.
Again, you can make these notes as messy or as organized as you need them to be.
6. Use a Rubber Duck
Using a rubber duck, or something similar like a plushy, is a great way to get your thoughts out.
What you do is you explain your thoughts and ideas to the duck as if it were a person. The duck won’t talk back of course, but your mind will enter into a problem solving mode and you’ll be able to talk in even more detail about your ideas then before.
This technique is especially great if you have a plot hole that you need to fix.
I also suggest combining this technique with technique #1 (using a recorder or speech to text program) so you don’t lose the ideas that you spoke about.
7. Create a World or Story Bible
A world bible is a document that contains information about the world that your story takes place in, and a story bible contains information about the story itself.
Whenever you can think of any new information, you just add it into your bible, that way you can reference it later.
Using a world bible is great when you have a complex fantasy or sci-fi world, in which you need to know a lot about the world building behind it.
Using a story bible is especially useful when you’re writing a series, as you can reference it while writing to avoid having to retcon things, or to avoid creating plot holes.
There are a lot of different ways to get your writing ideas out of your head and into a more tangible form, so experiment to find the techniques that suit you best.
If you enjoyed this post, please leave a like or share it with someone else who would enjoy it. I blog about writing every Wednesday, so check back next week for some new content.