4 Must-Use Tools for Brainstorming Your Next Project

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Photo via Flickr.

I’ve done everything to avoid writing the next scene in my book. I’ve gone for walks, reorganized my closet, even deep cleaned the oven—all in an effort to avoid making a big decision. After all, the next paragraph I write could be the very paragraph that destroys my entire book.

Whatever passion you’re pursuing in life, chances are you occasionally get stuck. You’re expected to come up with brilliant ideas but the more you think, the more your brain seems to freeze. With all of this technology, there has to be an easier way. Fortunately, there is. The next time you’re drawing a blank, take a brainstorming break. It’s more fun than deep cleaning the oven and your creative project will benefit from it. These tech tools for brainstorming can help you with the process.


Before we get into the complicated world of mind mapping, let’s start with a simple tool: the list. Experts say if you’re having trouble coming up with an idea, take out a piece of paper and make a long list of all of the possibilities. Often the ideas will start getting better as you go. With Wunderlist, you can start entering ideas in basic list format on your smartphone or tablet and access them later. You can even save your ideas for each project into separate folders in case you ever need to review them later. Best of all, Wunderlist is free.


Bubbl.us uses mind mapping to capture your thoughts. Using thought bubbles, you start with one concept and map your thoughts to the next, then the next. Once you’re finished, you’ll have your thoughts carefully illustrated to show to others or keep to yourself. Mind mapping takes some adjustment but if you enjoy the process, you’ll probably find yourself mind mapping every project, from buying a new car to planning your child’s birthday party.


Why brainstorm alone when you can collaborate with your closest friends? For many of us, those friends are spread out all over the country but we stay in touch with them daily, thanks to social media. Mindmeister is a mind-mapping app that lets you link up with your friends on Twitter or Facebook for a group brainstorming session. You can also email people to invite them to take a look at your brilliant ideas.

Idea Generator

If you want to shake up your brainstorming session, or simply find another way to procrastinate, this fun tool may be the one for you. Click on a button and random words or images start appearing on the screen. I clicked on the word tool and it generated the word “motorcycle.” If I were trying to come up with a random thing to toss into my novel to shake things up, I could take Idea Generator’s advice and introduce a motorcycle into the next scene.

If you find yourself putting off work because the ideas just aren’t flowing, these technology tools may give your brain the boost it needs. If your mind flows better when you put pen to paper, don’t feel pressured to use your smartphone or computer. Sometimes a creative person has to do whatever it takes to inspire us to keep going.

Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip, 25 Roses, and the upcoming Piper Morgan series.