You have to write a big paper. Or maybe you have to come up with a story idea.
Or (super meta) you have to write an email every day.
Step one is something I’ve noticed a lot of my students have trouble with. And if my students are having trouble with it, odds are a lot of other folks are too.
We’ve all heard of it, but actually sitting down and doing it can be hard.
It’s difficult to “turn off” that inner voice that’s constantly saying “nah that idea sucks,” but the whole point of brainstorming is to bypass that, or at least save it for later.
So here’s what you do: set yourself an impossible goal.
Ten story ideas in ten minutes.
Five paper topics in five minutes.
You get the idea. You want something that’s impossible to achieve with that inner editor voice going. For myself, I’ll set around fifteen minutes to come up with ideas for these emails for a week, plus podcast ideas & email ideas for another thing I do, Dungeon Master Daily.
And then just start writing! Whatever you do, don’t stop to analyze the things you write down. Write intentionally bad ideas if you have to, but write ideas.
Only when you’re done do you look at your ideas and start evaluating. And when you do, you might be surprised at how much you wrote and how creative you were.