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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Where Do You Brainstorm?

Where Do You Brainstorm?

Before moving on to today’s post, I just want to share that Susan Swiderski posted a lovely review for WE HEAR THE DEAD on Monday and graciously included an interview. If you don’t follow Susan at I Think; Therefore I Yam — you should! Check out her Raising the Dead post and follow her!

Writing is done in the head as much as off the page. There’s the initial idea for the story, the planning of characters and story arc, not to mention working out scenes and plot dilemmas along the way.  Where do you do your best brainstorming?

Taking the dog on a walk is usually good for me, and long car rides are also useful for working out the kinks in the upcoming chapter. (Sometimes I practice dialogue in the shower, where I think nobody can hear me.)
But one of my favorite places to think about writing is HERE, on the chair lift.  I know that skiing and writing don’t go together for most people, but the chair lift is an awesome place to meditate.
Look at the view, after all. (That’s the bluer than blue Lehigh River in the picture to the left. The trail is called River Shot.)  On a weekday when the trails are empty, the mountain is eerily quiet – just the gentle creaking of the cables above your head, the whisper of wind in the trees.
(Crowded weekends are not as creatively motivating. There’s too much of a show going on beneath you: cartwheels, somersaults, people ooching downhill on their bottoms, and the occasional really good skier who makes everyone else look like they’ve got three left feet.)
Nobody’s going to interrupt you on the chair lift, unless you get a chatty seat partner. I usually ride alone or with Gabbey – and Gabbey and I are perfectly content with silence. (She’s probably thinking about her writing, too.)
Did I get some good writing in during my ski vacation last week? Well – not on paper, per se – but in my head? Yes, I did!
Now, with any luck, some of it will actually get written this week.

18 Responses to Where Do You Brainstorm?

  1. Sarah says:

    I brainstorm during my commute. It’s a 40-50 minute drive down to Providence, so I just turn on the music and let my brain churn with ideas. Good luck getting things down on paper, Dianne!

  2. I like to brainstorm in the shower or the car. This is something I have to work on. I need to remind myself that working is not only on the page, but off. I always tend to measure my progress by how much I’ve physically written. I need to tell myself that brainstorming is work too.

  3. TC Avey says:

    Awesome pics, I’ve never been skiing but it sounds like fun.

    I brainstorm all the time (one of the best times for me lately is while I feed my baby), though it doesn’t always leave my head and make it to paper.

  4. I brainstorm when I run. I don’t set out to brainstorm, but that’s when all the ideas hit. Of course then I have to remember them on the way home, which isn’t a problem unless I get hit with too many of them. 😀

  5. I think that’s a perfect place to brainstorm 🙂 Most of mine happens in the shower or while walking.

  6. Oh, that looks like a fun place to brainstorm! I’m one of those people who has trouble thinking when my nose is cold though. lol. My favorite place is in the passenger’s seat of a moving vehicle or in bed while falling asleep.

  7. mshatch says:

    I don’t think I could brainstorm that far off the ground; I’d be too busy contemplating all the ways that chair lift could fail and send me plummeting to my death. But running/walking work, the shower, and in bed at the end of the day are the places I like best.

  8. Linda G. says:

    What a great place to brainstorm! Doubt it would work for me, though–it’s hard to brainstorm when you’re fighting off a panic attack. (Yeah, chair lifts terrify me.)

    I brainstorm in the shower. There’s just something about the steam that releases the creative juices. Also before I fall asleep at night, when my mind is winding down. The looseness of my thoughts then tends to work to my advantage in dealing with sticky plot points.

  9. I actually brainstorm while on my elliptical machine, staring at an abstract painting! But I love where you brainstorm, too–it’s beautiful!

  10. Good to know I’m not the only shower dialoguer 😉

    Will go check out Susan’s blog.

  11. My friend Cindy Hogan does her brainstorming while she walks each morning. She has a recording thingy and talks into it. Once she gets home she puts it down on paper.

    I do a lot of brainstorming at my desk, but when I need more help I’ll enlist my family members. My sons and husband are good at bouncing idea off–especially my two boys (men) who want to write.

  12. DL Hammons says:


    I brainstorm in the hot tub. All of my best ideas came while I was sitting in bubbling hot water! 🙂

  13. Here in Oz it’s the middle of summer so there’s no skiiing happening as yet. I do like the chairlift rides, though, because it’s so quiet up there.

  14. Rebecca Emin says:

    That’s a gorgeous place to brainstorm. I always get my best ideas when I’m doing really boring jobs like washing dishes or ironing. And also in the shower.

  15. I have never planned my books while skiing. Mostly because I’m thinking about how not to kill myself on the hill. However, I have done dialogue in the shower and often while doing dishes or walking my dog or…

  16. great scenery! good luck with the writing.

  17. That looks like a wonderful place to be doing any sort of thinking. I turn things over in my mind while I’m in the bath. It’s where I go when I’m on the edge of an idea but the details are slow in coming 🙂

  18. My recent brainstorms have been in the shower, while flat ironing my hair, and when washing dishes. It’s during these mundane tasks that my mind can wander.

    The pictures are beautiful, but I’m not comfortable enough skiing to think about my manuscripts then!